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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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King Herod's fear

He saw Jesus' coming as a threat. Do we too?

King Herod normally didn't lose sleep over peasant babies, but he was terrified of the one born to be a king. Herod wasn't inclined to notice the nobodies walking the streets and roads of his kingdom, but royal seekers from the East chilled his spine. Herod didn't make plots against the powerless. But he plotted, and acted, against the One whose star in its rising had drawn the Magi to find him.
Herod feared this One whose impending kingship threatened his place, his power.


We, too, have seen his star in its rising. We, too, must decide if this is good news or bad news for us. Will we, like Herod, draw back in fear because this One comes in our likeness with the promise to remake our world? Is that a message we really want to hear?

We regularly decry Herod's failure to see and accept God's plan of redemption and consequent plot against the Word made flesh. Do we do better?

Jesus became like us so he might make us like him. The light of his Epiphany, his star in its rising, is intended to shine into the dark places in our lives. His grace is given so we might be changed and made new. Is that good news?

The year ahead will be filled with surprises. What we can't imagine will indeed happen. The most certain of our notions will be challenged. Life--warm, passionate, bloody, Spirit-filled, uncontrollable--will unfold before us. God's Epiphany will be revealed amid these events. It will be an epiphany of grace, a star in its rising to light our path. May we see it as such.


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