Epiphany A 2017

How many of you would you say are comfortable with change?  How many are uncomfortable?  The story of the Epiphany is about how we respond to change.  A star that had not been seen before suddenly appears.  Change is in the air.  When Magi show up in Jerusalem, proclaiming there is a new born king of the Jews, the current king, Herod and all Jerusalem with him “were greatly troubled.”  Change is always a challenge.  What happens next will shape the history of peoples.

There are three possible reactions to the star over Bethlehem.  One is to ignore it.  In all the world, only a few people investigate the phenomenon.  [The Bible never says there are three.]  What about everyone else? It is easy to miss a new star.  Who has time to gaze upon the sky?  We bow our necks, do our work and keep our heads down to avoid trouble and lessen the scope of a far too busy world.  If we catch a glimpse of the change, we hope in our efforts to plow ahead and hope that the change is not meant for us.

Or we could have Herod’s approach to change.  We can reject it and fight it no matter its source.  We can see any change as a threat to a status quo we are comfortable with or benefits us. He closes his fist and his heart to the sign of the star, ready to kill to protect his place. Of course, it was never meant to be, but how differently would history look if the King of the Jews recognized the savior of his people.  But for Herod, change was a threat to be defeated, not a hope to be embraced.

And finally, we can choose the wise way of the Magi.  Upon seeing the star, they determine it a call to action.  They leave everything behind in pursuit of giving honor to the new born king of the Jews.  They travel across hundreds of barren miles in pursuit of that wavering star.  They seek to do homage to the change that God has brought and lay expensive gifts at the foot of the lowly king.

At the beginning I asked you how you felt about change.  Now I ask you if you have ever noticed that your attitude towards change has never prevented it from coming.  In a world literally spinning, we are in the midst of change, invited and uninvited all the time. We never stand in exactly the same space as we did before.

Epiphany still speaks to us for I can guarantee you at the outset of this year, a star will appear in your life.  A star that will invite you to a new horizon. A star that will challenge you.  This star will ask you to forgive what you have never forgiven or to care about what you have never cared for.  This star may ask sacrifice from you.  This star might challenge you to love with greater width or depth.  But I assure you, a star will appear.  For God is asking us to come ever closer, to trust ever more deeply, to find new ways to express the grace we have been given.

And because our God is a god of freedom, we will have a choice- to not notice the star or ignore it.  But its light is meant for you.  Or we can be like Herod and seek to destroy the change that is meant for us; to cut off the blessings of God before we can taste them because our fear overrules our love.  Or we can be like the Magi and seek the star, sacrifice for it and embrace it wholly as God’s truth.

We are called to be continually converted in Jesus Christ.  To go more fully into his life to discover the hidden beauty in our own, to witness colors and dreams beyond our imagination.  A king born to a poor family, a relationship repaired, justice done.  Your star is calling. Answer it and find where Christ is leading you this year.