Epiphany is the season of light, a season of star bursts, a season of dreams, and a season of revelation. According to Webster, Epiphany means “to show forth” or “manifest.” In this week’s gospel story a star appears in the heavens and Jesus is revealed as Christ and King in the persons of the Magi. “In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
This week we are reminded that we too are seekers, followers of the star that leads us to Christ. In many ways our journey is similar to the journey that the wisemenor Magi take. It’s hard journey across rough lands, and it twists and turns on a crooked path. We must ask questions along the way. We’re not always sure where we are headed. And the adventure is full of the unexpected, when we arrive at the manger we are often surprised to find that the king we are seeking is not enthroned in majesty but just a baby lying in a humble manger. Suddenly our world is turned upside down, the paradigms shift, and things are never the same.
One of my favorite parts of the Magi story is the ending. They do not return to Herod, to the ways of this world, to emptiness disguised as power, instead they are transformed. And they go home a different way. Those who seek the star that leads to Jesus are changed forever, the old things pass away and all things become new.
When I lived in California I would take youth groups down into Mexico to work on an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. And one of my favorite activities was to go on a night hike. We would climb this small hill in the middle of this valley, and once we got up on top we would all lie down on the grass and look up at the stars. And the stars were so bright on that hill in Mexico. There was no light pollution, no city lights to steal away the natural light of the stars. The stars on that hill were always big and bright. We would all just lie down and look up. It was always silent as each of us would just gaze at the stars. And the stars gazed down upon us. God gave us hopes and dreams, God called each of us by name. And the magic of that place always made things seem possible. The glass up there was never half empty, it was always at least half full, and falling stars seemed to fill what was left to overflowing.
“The Magical Moment”Reach out, touch the magical moment Touch the moon and the stars Reach out, touch deep within Imagine who you really are You’ve been held a prisoner Going on a thousand years Someone else’s expectations Your own set of fears Going on a thousand years Reach out, touch the magical moment Touch the moon and the stars Reach out, touch deep within Imagine who you really are Your mind has been on overtime Creating a distorted world lonely and preoccupied White flag unfurled, Creating a distorted world Reach out, touch the magical moment Touch the moon and the stars Reach out, touch deep within Imagine who you really are Wondering if you ever gave it all The law laughs and the heart cries The eternal day dream Under blue sunny skies And the heart still cries Reach out, touch the magical moment Touch the moon and the stars Reach out, touch deep within Imagine who you really Imagine, Imagine, Who you really are, Imagine, Imagine, Who you really are, Imagine who you really are Imagine Reach out, touch the magical moment Touch the moon and the stars Reach out, touch deep within Imagine who you really are
It’s good to gaze up into the heavens, to touch the moon and the stars, to reach out and be touched deep within; it’s good to have heavenly dreams, it’s good to let God into your imagination. The kingdom comes into this world through people who receive a dream and go after it.
What is your dream? What would God have you do with your one great life? Look up into the heavens tonight and let God come into your heart and mind, deep into your imagination and call you into an amazing journey. As you look up may you discover that God is gazing down upon you, Amen.
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In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“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 my people Israel.” ’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 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.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.