January 6, 2006 - Year B - Epiphany

Matthew 2:1-12

 1 When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and said, "Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3 When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. 4 Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, "Where will the Messiah be born?"

    5 They told him, "He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote,

6 'Bethlehem in the land of Judea,
   you are very important
   among the towns of Judea.
   From your town
   will come a leader,
   who will be like a shepherd
   for my people Israel.' "

    7 Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. 8 He told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too."

    9 The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 They were thrilled and excited to see the star.

    11 When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. 12 Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.

[Contemporary English Version]

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Comments by Wesley

1. In the past I have looked at questions in this passage. This year a look at affirmations. To begin, the "wise" ones from the east. They have ascertained that a new "king of the Jews" is to be born. They knew it strongly enough to travel for some time and to invest much thought and resources in gifts. If they were wise they would know that a new king is always a threat to the present king and so to bring word about a future king to a present king risked their own lives as messengers are often killed to keep an unpleasant word from gaining wider knowledge. And yet they traveled to the "heart of the beast" to find the next clue for their journey. It sounds very much like a video game episode.

2. Herod also has the affirmation that power must be maintained regardless of the subterfuge needed to keep it in power. Just as the wise ones have their modern counterpart in gaming, so Herod has his counterparts in the regimes of this (and every) day.

3. Thirdly there are the "wise" ones again. They affirm that there are larger forces at work than their own. Stars come and beckon them onward. Stars falter and backup questions of the worst responders need to be brought into play. Stars pick back up and lead on. Stars turn into dreams as powerful as their preferred astrological divining process. Dreams turn a known way back into yet another adventure on another road.

We know there is a change blowing in the wind. We do our best to avoid it. We can't stop the change. We honor it. We return a different way as different people. We know there is yet another change blowing in the wind. We grow.

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