Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

January 4, 2018

 Dear Friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Matthew 2:1-12:

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”                                          (Matthew 2:1–12, NIV)

Expectations are powerful lenses through which we view the world.  They often add color within the boundaries of our lives and leave an overall cast upon our daily vignettes, even being reflected as shadows on the backdrop to the stage as we seek to play our part with dignity and grace.  Our expectations are revealed by what we treasure, and hold most precious.  This light is easily seen by those in the audience.

Within the shimmering and sparkling ornamentation of the last few weeks, we are reminded of the Magi’s journey by the children's Christmas production, and the items they carried with them – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – and how they sought to make an offering to Jesus.  It says a lot about what they valued.  How far they carried it, safeguarded it, and who they ultimately offered it to also speaks of their expectations, revealing an overall tone to this well-known Christmas story.  How can this passage reveal our hope and potential, in whatever moment, and place we might be?

The offering on the part of the Magi suggests a character, and manner which implies an inspirational strength that draws from deep within.  So too, as followers and worshippers of Jesus, we can also draw from this spiritual well(ness), uplifting spirits around us and despite any cloud cover or cold weather, offer to brighten and warm our surrounding world.


Rev Richard Wagner