Pastor’s Corner Rev. Robert P. Doner, pastor, Peace United Church of Christ Gladbrook, Iowa-“Epiphany Musings”
January 10, 2014
This week, on the Christian church calendar, features the beginning of the season of Epiphany. I think of it as the season of light because the glory of God has appeared to humanity in the birth of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son and because this divine light has brought to the world a revelation regarding the opportunity to live life anew in the Spirit. One of the favored biblical texts assigned to Epiphany is Isaiah 60:1-3. “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” St. Matthew discerned that these words found reality in the coming of the Magi to the Christ Child. It apparently impressed Matthew that the Magi could see the special formation of the stars in heaven and recognize that an earth-changing birth had taken place in Israel. Of course the Magi first figured that the birth would be in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, and home of Israel’s King Herod. It would take the scholars of Israel’s ancient legends and scriptures to fix Bethlehem as the place for the Wise Men to go. But-Matthew reminds us-it is the star, the divine light that finally directs them to the Christ. Light is important. The Magi, as foreigners, came to the light as the scriptures predicted. However, the light had no effect on King Herod and his court. They were completely taken aback by the news of the birth of a baby who was to be king of Israel. Herod’s response was not to allow the light and come to the Light of the world; no his response was to locate the baby and to destroy him. So, as one of the other favorite scriptures of Epiphany tells us, Herod ordered the slaughter of babies two years old and under in the Bethlehem area. All the lights of Advent and Christmas surely add to our Christmastime festivities and to our celebration of the Lord’s birth. I love the Christmas season for that reason; walks at night seem different when the warm glow of Christmas lights and decorations cut through the cold. It is with sadness all those lights are turned of shortly after Christmas Day. Still, the stars and moon make up the difference, their light glistening off fields and trees that are covered in white. i still enjoy those scenes of a winter’s night that appears to be as bright as day. And in those moments I thank God for the glory of his Son and for the glory of his creation-and for the joy that amid so much darkness in the world there is hope, and, in truth, there is new life. I wish you all a happy and blessed 2014; and most of all I wish you a new year filled with epiphanies!
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