Star light, star bright,The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight
Full moons and eclipses, constellations and even wishing upon the first or a falling star, we humans have been gazing up into the night sky to see more–to make connections between earth and sky, between the mundane and the heavenly.
That’s what the magi have done in our story from Matthew’s gospel for today as we observe the feast of the Epiphany. This story of the Magi, which church tradition using the three gifts, the church imagined the magi to be three men with the names of Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar. But according to Matthew, the magi are not kings, but more like astrologers who look into the night sky and see the star.
But of course, it’s not just a star; it revealed something else, something important, something momentous happening right here on earth. We have wanted to believe that it’s all connected and that somehow we can do something, that we can impact something. We have been trying to make sense out of what otherwise might be a purely senseless, chaotic world subject to mere luck bad and good. Instead of happenstance we want to be able to look up at the lights in the dark night skies and fashion some order
To the magi the light reveals the birth of a new king, and so they travel, journey to see the child so important, so noteworthy, that it caused a change in the night sky and a change in their lives.
A change that is very unwelcome for some like King Herod. King Herod doesn’t want to, he can’t see his connection to his people, to his faith. Herod only wants to hold on to the good stuff he’s got now, his throne–his power, and so he conspires to destroy the child king. And so in Matthew’s Gospel what follows are words for today is the Christmas story that often gets overlooked, the slaughter of the innocents as Herod orders the murder of the children 2yrs and younger.
It doesn’t take an epiphany to see the evil we wreck upon this world–evil that we do when we loose our connections–cut our connections, ruin relationships, create divisions. Republicans, Democrats, Muslims, Christians, urban, rural, rich and poor, immigrant and citizen, humanity and our planet. The damage we do, from our beginnings in the garden till today happens when we cut ourselves off one from another and from our God.
But, conspiracy theorists and children are not the only ones who want to connect the dots, looking for and making connections. God over and over and over again is tying us together.
Christmas and Epiphany is seeing that Jesus connects heaven to earth, God’s chosen people to all God’s children of earth, Jews and Gentiles. Epiphany shows us once again that Jesus is connected to all those who are threatened, to those who are vulnerable. Magi from the East, astrologers, people who don’t know Moses, the ten commandments, see God born into the world as an insignificant little child. It’s all connected, not that we can wish upon a star, not that we can devise some great plan, or pick the most auspicious day–we don’t get to game the system to pick the lucky numbers in some celestial or even local lottery. Instead, faith in the God we encounter on Christmas and epiphany helps us to join Martin Luther King Jr, in saying that… “all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
We can not as people of faith sit idly by while others go hungry, while others are shot, while others are threatened, while others dehumanized and denigrated. The Spirit has brought us together, to this place–a space of worship this morning to hear these ancient words of truth the world would hide from us–that all are God’s children, that all are loved, that the true ruler of this world doesn’t pander to donors, doesn’t stoke up fears, doesn’t try to fix things with guns and bombs. The Spirit of God bring us here to feed us with the food of forgiveness and the food of travelers searching for hope. It is here that we feel that we are not alone, that we are connected to one another and to something so much bigger, something much more present and powerful. We no longer need to look up to the heavens to see God, God is here with me with you, we don’t need to make a wish upon a star to make our dreams come true. Amen.