Sunday, January 06, 2008

Epiphany of the Lord

Is 60:1-6
Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6
Mt 2:1-12
An obscure Jewish cult. That is, after all what Christianity could well have been, just an obscure Jewish cult, save for the rising of a star. I am not an expert on religions of the Ancient Near East, but the concept of the messiah appears to have been a Jewish concept. A Jewish Messiah, come to the Jewish people. A Messiah come to lead Israel, to establish the place of Israel in the world. The idea did not seem to apply to outsiders, and certainly some of the early followers of the Christ wanted to keep it that way. Conversion to Judaism had to precede, or at least be a part of, following the Christ. Then, there is the story of the Magi, wise ones who come from the east, following a star. This star rose and was seen by them as the sign of the birth of a great ruler, a new ruler of the Jews, but more than that. These Wise Ones, three or three hundred, we really don’t know, come from, somewhere else. They are not Jews, they are Gentiles, yet they come to pay homage to the newborn Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one who comes for all. They come drawn by a star. The Word made flesh is made manifest to the world. Thus Paul says, “It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” The Christ has come, the Christ has come for all humanity. That my sisters and brothers, is us, we are humanity, we are the People of God, we are who the Christ came to save. Let us rejoice today in the Word made flesh, made manifest to the world.
An obscure Jewish cult, that is what Christianity could have been, save for the rising of a star.

Deacon John
The Epiphany of the Lord
Jan. 6, 2008