The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Tomorrow is Epiphany

... and today I wonder about the wondering ones

Tomorrow is Epiphany. It is so for those Christians who pay attention to dates that almost no one else does, at least in the United States.

Somebody — some clerk, probably — picked Jan. 6 to be Epiphany, the date when the wise men showed up. The date when the 12 days of Christmas are over.

It marks the time when the three weird wandering ones finally arrive with their gifts.

Late. After the initial excitement.

With only some of the facts.

Believing in a miracle that they won't be part of because of a science that hardly anyone understands.

Working within an existing political system till it doesn't work.

Dropping their impractical, costly stuff, which foretells death, on a tired young mother and a frazzled father, who have a new baby boy. Who have had odd visitors for all of their newborn's brief life, this child who was born in a stranger's stable during his parents' mandated journey.

So these three wandering ones leave dangerous, ominous, beautiful gifts. Then they slip out the back. Go home. Or at least away — by a different route than they came because they've figured out that the powers that be aren't happy about the story they've told. So they go.

At least nothing else is reported (Matthew 2:1-12). A drive-by worship. By unknown wealthy people from some unknown place to another unknown place, with a stop to say: This is God.

They intrigue me.

They come to check out a phenomenon, stay a moment to worship truth and light, leave their costly offerings and depart.

Like people who come to church only on Christmas and Easter?

Like me? Who comes wandering by, late, with only some of the facts, little context, but believes: This is God.

This is today's epiphany. From me, for me, and for you too.


Reverend Bill Ferguson

Reverend Bill Ferguson

Posted at 5:02 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/3/2008

I like what you wrote above. It will preach. One must ask: Were the Magi looking for a king or God? Some people say they find God while hiking on a nature trail when the whistling wind blows through tree tops and while sleeping under the brightly shinning stars. Others will say I find God only when I read the Bible and while I'm in silent prayer in church. Still, others say; "Only by believing in Jesus can a person really know God." In the story of the Magi we discover all three ways  of knowing God are important. A radiant light from the heavens drew the Magi near to worship the One who was born King of Kings. The Magi went to Jerusalem and sought directions from people who had the information they needed. But the ones with the information paid little attention to what they themselves knew. And they made no effort to go and find the Savior. All three ways helped the wise men find God. The Magi actually finished their journey and saw Yeshua. They were looking and found the greatest treasure and they were willing to make the effort of searching. If we want to find God, we see His glory in nature, we learn of His promises in the Bible, and we discover Yeshua by getting to know Him personally.


Reverend Bill Ferguson

Reverend Bill Ferguson

Posted at 8:10 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/5/2008

I felt a need to  add a few more words. When Yeshua was born into our world, people immediately began to react. The news that the Messiah had been born did not soothe and comfort Herod or the people in his court. It startled and disturbed them. Herod felt threatened that he would loose control. Just like Herod, there are many in our time who are not ready to turn thier llives over to God for fear of losing control. In some, Yeshua awakened spiritual longings; in others (like Herod), fear and insecurity. Just as in those longago days, Yeshua stirs many different reactions. Some consider Him a good teacher,  or a prophet, and consider Him nice man with some good ideas, and some consider Him the Messiah. Friends, the decision we make about who He is has eternal consequences. For those who are not certain and are still searching for the truth, I would say; If it is true that God Almighty entered this world when Yeshua was born, we dare not sit idly by ignoring and rationalizing our indecision. We must acknowledge Yeshua as the rightful King of our lives. Friends, He did not stay in the manger. He grew up, lived an incredible life, died on a cross, was buried in a tomb and then rose from the dead and ascended to our Creator so that all who would believe in Him would have eternal life. Have you made a decision and welcomed the Messiah into your heart and made Him King of your life? May the Lord bless and keep you. Bill Ferguson, Pastor, Sherrill United Methodist Church, Sherrill, Arkansas

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