1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2:1-12, NIV
Yesterday was the celebration of the Epiphany, the celebration of the moment when the Magi from far-off lands follow the star to Bethlehem and find the Christ Child, God made manifest, there before their eyes.
But now it’s the day after Epiphany. So… what happens on the day after Epiphany?
Not to put too rigid a timeline on this story from the Gospel of Matthew… but it would appear that on the day after the events we celebrate as Epiphany (the visitation of these Magi, the presentation of their gifts), the Magi return home. That may seem a bit anticlimactic, I suppose… until we note the route they took. Matthew’s gospel tells us that these Magi don’t leave Bethlehem by the same route that brought them to Bethlehem. A fitful night filled with dreams — in Matthew’s gospel, one of God’s favorite means of communicating — leave them with warnings to head home by another route, a different route, a route that will allow them to steer clear of Herod and his underhanded plans.
So to recap: on the day (or so) after Epiphany, the Magi follow God’s guidance and allow God to change their plans.
I don’t know about you, church… but to me, that sounds like a pretty good “order of business” for us on this day after Epiphany. So may you hear God speaking. May you follow God’s guidance. And if need be, may you allow God to change some of your plans.
And remember, friends:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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