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Stargazers: January 3, 2016

Sermon: Stargazing
Text: Matthew 2:1-12

A group of women, battered by those who had promised to love them were taken on a retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For three days, they ate food they didn’t have to cook.
For three days, their kids could run and play the hills with no fences.
For three days, when all was quiet they could sit by the fire for as long as they wanted, stoking it, stirring it, watching it.

On the last evening, the camp manager ask if they’d want to take a hayride, and most did.

Bundled up, they climbed up on the wagon with their kids
To ride in an old wagon, up a long rocky road into the night.

As the wagon came back down the mountain, because you were so high, you could literally see a blanket of stars without looking up.

Mothers were explaining to their kids, literally what stars were.
Imaginations were exploding. The wondering was oozing.
Fun was happening.

The bounty of God’s creation was stirring the beaten spirits of God’s people.

One woman said to her two little ones, wrapped in blankets, cuddled close. “Don’t you wish we had these stars back at our house.”

To which the old coger driving the tractor said, “Those same stars are there – but you gotta look up.”

In the world, which welcomed Christ, there were no GPSs.
There were no apps for the wise men’s phones, not foreign spies to find this man they had been told would save their people.

In the world, to which Jesus was born, there were only people
Who knew the promises of their God and who really wanted to find their Messiah.

Like our world, there was a King, who didn’t want to loose his power and would do whatever to keep it.

Like our world, there was a system in place, maji’s who were under the King’s authority and who would take his gifts of entrapment to the promised one.

But also, like today, in this world where we find ourselves trying to live faithfully together – there were the wise who knowing what they’d found, rebuked their current King and having seen the promised one – went home another way.

It is our tendency, to look externally for guidance.
We want what we were promised.
We want what history has told us is ours.
We want whomever is in power to lead us.

But the spiritual reality, is we are born maji.
We are born with gifts of knowledge and wisdom.
We are born to be seekers – finders of truths that matter.

We are promised light. But we have to look up and around to see the guiding stars.

We are promised joy. But we have to walk in the light to experience it. We can’t stay put.

We are promised a connection with God. But we have to connect. We have to see God where we are now, before we can follow God to where we might be.

You see, my friends, Epiphany is when the gifts came.
Epiphany, is when the maji brought what they had been given to someone they had never met.

Epiphany, is the twelfth day after Christmas – it is the day not when Jesus was born, but when the wise recognized the Jesus they found.

You and I, we bring our gifts – what er they be.
As our doxology says, “We offer them to thee.”

Today, this congregation is called to follow the light.
We are to be star gazers, where we look up a lot.
We are to be star gazers, where we see God’s leading
We are to be star gazers, where we stop and worship.
We are to be star gazers, where we keep God alive
By trying ‘another road.”

It is not a light, we do not have.
It is a light, we always have…

Look up.