What is the good news that we share together with the Magi?
The Magi were active participants in the good news of God’s love being shared with the world. Studying and searching for a sign of God’s presence, their lives were disciplined for their journey to Jesus. Guided by a heavenly sign, which the Gospel of Matthew records as a star in the East, the Magi became part of the eternal message of God’s hope that has been spoken since the dawn of creation.
I read in a magazine some years ago this brief report and commentary: “Entries from a 36-hour period. A barkeeper in Dedrick, Mo., trying to stop a fight, killed two customers and was shot dead himself; a man in Miami was charged with protesting the $1.59 price on a can of oregano by gunning down a store clerk; a crack user in Essex, Md. murdered the minister of the Christian Faith Tabernacle Church, stealing $40 worth of crack from him; arsonists torched ornamented trees in Rockefeller Plaza; skyjackers plotted to firebomb Paris. Visions of sugarplums and Santa danced in children’s heads as Christians celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace.”
In my opinion, the author of this report was attempting to relegate the good news of the Christian faith to the level of insignificance. Guided by the vision of a chaotic world running from the presence of the Eternal, this article’s author had missed out on the obvious message of being guided by the good news of God’s love.
We who celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, do not live a faith turns away from the obvious difficulties of life. Our faith squarely faces the reality that we live in a world that is darkened by the difficult, painful, and chaotic presence of sin. The good news of our faith, however, is that the reality of life is not defined by the presence of sin. The good news of our faith is the reality of life is defined by the one who was born King of the Jews. It is this good news that guides and disciplines our lives as we become active participants in the story of God’s love being shared with the world.
Sara Maitland, in her book A Big-Enough God writes, “I admit to finding it hard to grasp really and finally that, if there is a show going on, we are not the audience. We cannot be the audience, and there is no place “outside” where we can take a seat and settle down to watch. The risky and changing nature of the universe, its slow history and its internal creativity, goes on in me, in us all as much as in the farthest star. Indeed the two are not so separate or different, for the stuff of which I am and the far-flung stars are made is the same stuff.”
Dr. Samuel Johnson once observed: “Never be afraid to state the obvious. It is what most people have forgotten.”
On this Epiphany Sunday, let me state the obvious:
The same God who guided the magi’s journey to Jesus is still guiding us our journey to the Savior in this new year of 2023. May God’s blessings be with us as we share this good news in the journey of faith that is before us.
by Pastor Marc Brown
January 7, 2024
Accompanying Scriptures: Matthew 2:1-12
Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for January 7, 2024
Scripture Lesson Matthew 2:1-12
The Good News “Good News”
Music “The First Noel” Hymn #245
Closing Music “Glory to God” by Lani Smith