Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homily for Pawling Epiphany Walk 2014

Isaiah 9:2-7

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Magi came to Jerusalem seeking the King of the Jews. Instead, they found Herod, a puppet-king for Caesar, a cruel, paranoid, ruthless, and violent tyrant of a king who was religiously Jewish, culturally Greek, and politically Roman. The Magi came from Eastern darkness seeking wisdom and light. They followed the star God provided, but for the wrong reason, in accordance with the darkness of their sinful and idolatrous wisdom. Nevertheless, by light to the True Light they were ultimately lead, no thanks to the wisdom of men. Their gifts were fit for a king, a king like Herod who values costly gold, rare incense, and precious resin. They bowed down and worshiped the King, but not the king they imagined in the darkness of their sin and death.
But, He was the King, the True King, the Light and Savior of the World. The people who walked in darkness beheld the True Light of Creation. In His mercy and grace He multiplied His Nation and increased Her joy. He was born to be their King. He was born to be your King. His Kingdom was founded upon His shoulders as He hung dead upon the cross, your cross, my cross. There He was sentenced, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. There was His throne established – a throne of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and peace with God.
The events and details of His birth were a portent of His death for the life of the world. He was born in the darkness of mankind’s sinful ignorance and death, when all was still and it was midnight. That is when God acted. That is when God always acts. His Light penetrated our darkness, took on our sin, and suffered our death on the darkest Friday there will ever be that you, who were children of darkness, might now be light in the Lord. The Magi were looking for what they wanted, but, by the grace of God, they found what they needed, they found what we need – the Light of the world the darkness cannot overcome.
Light and life was born at Christmas. Jesus is God’s perfect gift to us that keeps on giving. Each and every time we gather in His Name, receiving His Word and His Blessed Sacraments, we receive God’s gifts – we receive Jesus, God in flesh made manifest. Receive this gift of Light and Life. Let it shine in you. Let it shine through you that others dwelling in the darkness of sin and death might receive His Light too. This is the Gospel of Epiphany: The Magi returned home a different way, the way of Light and Life, to walk in darkness no longer. May you children of Light do the same.
In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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