Happy New Year!! What a year it has been already. Only days into 2015 and I have experienced so many blessings. I don’t know about you but I have done a lot of reflecting this past week. After the start of a new year it is only natural to look back at what was, to evaluate the highs and the low and prepare yourself for another journey.
Moving to a new state, starting a new position as your pastor are only a few of the highlights of my past year.
But for me, my journey also begins in a manager — the Christ Child born in Bethlehem– surrounded by his parents, shepherds from the fields, angles singing…..
But the mood changes. We read about the visit from the wise men. Herod hears about the birth of Jesus from a visit from the wise me and then he sends these wise men these astrologers to find the Baby. To worship him? No, to kill him!
In their search for Jesus the wise men noticed one particular star started doing funny things, miraculous things that their science could not easily explain. So they followed it.
Could you imagine being so curious about God that you’d be willing to take a journey through the desert?
Notice how the Magi allow both their intellect and spiritual curiosity to guide them. Not one, not the other, the two go together. Intellect and faith go hand in hand. So they spent weeks, maybe months, walking through a desert, wondering what they were going to find.
What they found they wanted to tell the world. They found Jesus and they knew that the world would change forever, because God is approaching, and that nothing can remain the same in the presence of this baby.
In the Gospel today the Magi are following a star — but they are also on their journey because King Herod also told them to go on his behalf.
As they are walking and wondering and following the star following God, they also hear in the back of their minds the words from King Herod. “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” Following the voice of the world.
I think it was that moment, after they saw Jesus for the first time that they knew that they could not put this baby at risk. After following the star, after hearing from King Herod, after their adventures they knew that this baby was special so they did not want to risk something awful happen to him.
On our own Journey’s we hear voices from this world, and voices from God. Sometimes they are giving us the same message, but most of the time they are not. The voices from this world might say: Be number one, get, have, more stuff, mine, over scheduling, sickness, injury, pain, hurt, death.
We have family, friends, work demanding our time– we have grandkids to visit with — play dates to schedule, it can be overwhelming.
Then the other voice is from God. God speaks to use through the church, through prayer, and scripture. The voice from God says: love, forgiveness, faith, spirit, grace, hope, peace, acceptance…..these are the words we want to hear, that we need to hear. However, they are easily drowned out by the other words.
What we need is Trust
We need to be able to trust one another but more importantly we all need to trust God.
Can you trust that God has a plan for your life? If you think about it, the story of the wise men depends on whom these men trusted and whom they didn’t. Had they trusted Herod, who wanted to kill Jesus, history might have been very different.
They did not trust that voice from Herod, “When you find him bring me word so that I too may worship him.” So they did not return to Jerusalem. God warned them in a dream not to go back. They took a back road out of town and made their way back across the desert.
So in the end their trust was right. We must all decide whom we shall hear and whom we shall follow, whom we shall trust.
Here we are, letting God talk to us. Jesus and the manger, just like the wise men. But when you go home, what direction are you going to head? We’re all going somewhere. Is your life direction going to change because of that baby?
This year, while you are preparing your journey in life, in your walk with God and the people around you.
What do you need?
What do you need to be able to break through that and hear the voice of the one crying out from the wilderness, from the cross and in your baptism the voice from Heaven calling our your name, claiming you as God’s own precious, beloved child. Amen
To hear the whole sermon click on the link below or download it from iTunes.