Did You Know? —Feasting on the Gospels
• “An epiphany is a divine manifestation in the midst of human history.”
• “In Matthew’s narrative the epiphany is closely related to symbols like the magi and the star.”
The Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12 (New Revised Standard Version)
2 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men[a] from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,[b] and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah[c] was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men[e] and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising,[f] until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped,[g] they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
It’s the first week in January and Christmas has ended in many traditions. It’s time to take down the tree and the decorations. Christmas will come again. It’s time to move on. Hold on!
This is Epiphany Sunday and we are all reminded that the birth of this little baby Jesus is the start of something new for the entire world. Let the celebrating continue! The God of all has come and revealed God’s self to the shepherds living in the margins of society and the Wise Men/Kings of privilege.
Matthew tells us the Wise Men/Kings come from the East drawn by God through ancient signs and a star. They experience the revelation of God present in this little baby born in a tiny town where the night sky virtually shines with hope. Kings bow down. God has come to save the world from itself. Now that is something to celebrate!
This morning we celebrate Epiphany in worship and consider what the birth of Jesus means. Can we open ourselves to the transformational truth that God arrived in the heart of poverty, was revered and visited (at God’s invitation) by people of privilege as well as those of little means and brought a startling way for all people to live together?
Wherever we may dwell…in comfort or in harm’s way…God is here for all people. In Christ, God seeks to save us from destroying ourselves through greed and selfishness and misunderstanding of God’s will. For all who suffer, the baby brings hope. For all who contribute to suffering, the baby points the way to salvation. The celebration may seem to have ended, but the Savior is here pointing the way to all people. Let us bow down reverently, take him seriously and celebrate.
Grace and Peace,