Today is Epiphany, a great day to consider the “wise men”. We don’t know how many there were. Their names are nowhere in the Bible. What Scripture tells us is they were “wise”. Were they wise because of what they knew or wise because of what they did, or both? They knew some details about prophecy, saw the star and understood the sign, and were so filled with wonder about whether or not this prophecy had come to fruition that they packed up for a several weeks’ journey and headed off with expensive gifts fit for a king, a literal king would receive these very gifts. They wanted to worship this newborn king.
Why is today a great day to consider these things? Our times are not stable. There’s very little stable about living in a pandemic with people on edge and no serious effort for unity among leaders, leaving the peacemaking up to those unwilling to slam people for sport because those bridges aren’t bridges! “Bridges that work never make the news.” And too many people want to be famous and get attention and will do anything, say anything to get it, whether it’s true, necessary, helpful or not. Power is intoxicating and everybody wants some. The days of the magi were fraught with instability, too, yet they saw hope and a glimmer of something that might be straight out of heaven and pursued it. They chose better, and I’m sure there were people back in town talking about how “they saw a star, packed up and headed off to look for a baby king??? They must be off their rockers!” Yet the Word calls them “wise”.
Today I ask myself, “will I be wise this year”? Am I pursuing Jesus regardless of the state of the world, my personal circumstances, pandemic and everything else? Or am I (in all honesty) sitting it out in favor of behaving like the world because it’s just easier? Let’s face it, if you know that posting that meme or comment will hurt others and do it anyway, you’re not pursuing Jesus, you are clinging to and mirroring the world. Doesn’t matter if I am a butcher, baker, candlestick maker or pastor, I know it’s sin. It is also brutal apathy toward my fellow humans. Apathy is required to dehumanize others with no more evidence than they belong to a different political party or hold different positions on hot button issues than I do.
Brutal apathy is a huge problem today. I know I am dehumanizing when I decide the behavior of one person must directly reflect the same belief system of every single member of any group they belong to or formerly belonged to. I know darn well that’s wrong. I don’t like it when someone makes that assumption about me, why would I do the same thing to another? Sin. That’s why. Sin is easier today than it’s ever been in my lifetime. I can go online and make grand assertions about wide swaths of people and everyone who doesn’t like those people already will jump on that bandwagon and deeper goes the division. I’d get a lot more attention and maybe a reputation as a real “fighter” or some kind of rebel without a clue. But I’d sure get a lot of attention and likes. For some, that’s what life is all about. Let that sink in. That is core basis of life every day. “Find out what others do and think that tick me off and make sure they know about it. And this is how I make the world a better place for Jesus.”
Well, what do wise ones do? They seek Jesus. What would Jesus do on social media? There’s a good question. Let’s pursue based on evidence.
How did he use it in his day? He used a boat and natural amplification of the hillsides to share the truth. He didn’t get people whipped up to a frenzy to hate a person or group or to take out a king. He didn’t put others down, he LIFTED UP! Doggone it, people he lifted others up and a lot of those others were the same ones the “good” people put down without a thought because to them they were not human. Not human like they. Jesus cleared it up real quick. He’d rather sit with sinners, wash the feet and share bread and wine with Judas Iscariot and make time to offer hope, peace, joy and love to all than pursue the things that lead to death. He said “choose life”. Life with each other showing greater care and compassion than before.
Pursuing Jesus is wise. There is no other source of hope, peace, joy and love that can keep my head on straight, clear the “world” from my brain, fix my eyes on each successive goal and Him. And because of a king born in a stable, I can re-stable-ize myself through the renewing of my mind and sleep sound each night.
Even during a pandemic.
Matthew 6:30-33 The Message paraphrase
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
Will you make a commitment, or recommit, to pursue Jesus?
Here’s how to get started: http://pennsvalleyparish.info/new-to-faith-returning-or…/