Summary: Just as the Wise Men, be ready to meet God in the midst of your everyday activities, then rise up and follow the star. What you believe should determine how you behave. Be willing to put feet on your faith; then rise up and follow the star.
For those not familiar with an Anglican Service; there are four Scripture Readings before the Sermon. The Scripture Readings for this day were: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7.10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12and Matthew 2:1-12.
Let us pray....... O Heavenly Father we thank-you for the gift of your son. Help us to place commitment to our conviction... Help us to place feet to our faith. To be as the Magi and to rise up and follow the star. To rise up and follow your son. And it is in his name that we pray. (Pause)
A family was driving into Fredericksburg, Virginia, for a Christmas season get-together.
As they passed by the Anglican church there was a manger scene in the yard, ..... The youngest boy asked his mother; what is that?
"That is Mary, Joseph, ,,,,,, and the Baby Jesus, there in the manger,".
A few blocks further on they passed the Methodist church, where a scene was depicting the journey of the Wise Men. "Who are they?" the young boy asked.
His mother replies, "Those are the Wise Men, who are looking for the Baby Jesus."
"Well, they're not all that wise" the young boy replied, "they won't find him there....... He's down the street at that other church." (Pause)
The annual observance of the birth of our Savior is almost over.
Epiphany,....... recalling the visit of the Wise Men is commemorated today, January 6th ...... and it ends the liturgical celebration, ...... following the "Twelve Days of Christmas."
No gifts of turtle doves, French hens or a partridge in a pear tree; .... rather we celebrate ..... the more traditional gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Many legends have grown up around the story of these Wise men, one of which is that they were "three kings."
The gospel account does not say there were three of them...or five or ten or thirty.
The idea of three kings came from the three gifts that were given - one king for each gift.
Some have suggested that there were actually Four Kings, but the fourth ones gift was a fruitcake, ..... so he was dropped from the story.
Names and personal descriptions have even been assigned by some :
Caspar - young, beardless, with a ruddy complexion;
Balthazzar (Bel-thaz-zar) - a bit older, dark-skinned, and a new beard;
Melchior (Mel--key-or)- old, grey hair, and a long beard.
The truth is .... We really do not know who they are.
Where they really kings? .... (Slow) Probably not.
Matthew calls them "Wise men from the East" ....... The Greek term is MAGOI (MAH-goy) which is where we receive the title MAGI .
They were probably astrologers ...... which explains why they would have noticed ...... and then been so excited about .....finding this unusual star in the sky.
As they would later say to Herod, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him."
The idea that heavenly signs marked the births and deaths of great leaders ...... was widely accepted in the Eastern culture. (Pause)
What these men saw intrigued them... it excited them enough .... to leave their homeland to follow this star.
They were probably from Babylon and it was going to be a very long journey to the town of Bethlehem.
One scholar estimates that their trip must have taken 4 months ...not including .... the time to prepare for the journey.
For these Wise men, this was the most important journey they would ever take.
Nobody .... No-thing was going to stand between them and following that star.
These Magi made a dramatic commitment of time to search for this New king.
Beloved.....The gift of time is one of the most precious things .... That we can give to Jesus. (Pause)
There is a wonderful message from these Wise men for us.
These three or four, or however many (MAH-goy).... met God in the midst of their normal daily living .... they were at their work.... when God gave them a sign.
God is not limited to meeting with us in a certain place ...or at a certain hour.
God can and does speak to us Anywhere .... and at Anytime.
The message Beloved ..... is to be constantly prepared...... To be constantly Alert ..... for what god has prepared for you in this life.
(1 Finger) So the First message is to be Alert. And the second is a willingness ..... a willingness to take action.
The Wise Men could have noted the appearance of the star in their charts.... And done nothing more.
They could have indicated that this phenomenon probably heralded something very special, .... and then gone back to their normal lives.
But no! (Slow) They put a commitment to their conviction,....