Dec. 31 - Jan. 6, 2008
This year, pray for your own Epiphany
The Magi looked at the stars and determined that a new king had appeared on the earth. Following the star, they arrived at Bethlehem and were the first to acknowledge Jesus as King, thus giving the world a great Epiphany.
Now as we remember that first Epiphany 2,000 years ago, what lessons can we take from those wise men? First, they were aware of their environment. They noticed when something was different in the night sky. How much awareness does it take to notice that there's a new star in the sky? Plenty!
Also, remember that as divine signs go, a star is hardly a private revelation. Moses had a burning bush. Isaiah had his vision in the temple. Both were relatively discrete revelations. But a star? It's there for everybody to see.
Which beckons the next question: If the star was there for all to see, how come only three guys responded? The obvious conclusion is that people didn't notice the star, or if they did notice the star they did not understand the significance.
Today we live in a world that is facing many pressures that are unprecedented in history. Now more than ever is the time for us to be a little more like the Magi and a lot less like the rest of humanity at the time of Jesus' birth. It's time for us to open our eyes and our hearts and become aware of our world today, to look at the changes that are happening all around us in our economics, our values, our environment.
And like the Magi, we need to respond with wisdom and insight. As most issues of discipleship, awareness and response deal with fundamental issues of stewardship. We must be good personal stewards of our minds, bodies, souls and possessions, just as we must be good collective stewards of our social values, economics and policies.
This Epiphany season, we can pray that the Christ child reveal himself to us, give us awareness of the world he came to save, and inspire us to respond with boldness and wisdom.
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
Reprint rights gladly granted to congregations for local nonprofit use. Just include this notice: "Copyright (c) 2006, The Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.
New This Week:
Seizing the Opportunities: Ways to Encourage Godly Giving
OK, pastor, what excuse are you using to avoid talking about stewardship in your congregation? Whatever it is, this weighty essay has a response why you should get going. Lots to think about. Click here for “Seizing the Opportunities,” posted by Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.
What to do with a New Year?
Introducing a new columnist – the Rev. Sharron Riessinger Lucas, a parish pastor serving the Sheyenne-Oberon Area Ministry, a four-point cooperative ministry in the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. In her debut column, she describes a daring New Year’s Resolution to embrace simplicity. Click here for “What to do with a New Year?”
From Pennies to Plastic
You hear many a parent complain, “Kids don’t know the value of money.” But how would they unless they are taught? This article outlines some practical ways that parents and parishes can help their young people learn about money and how to use it wisely. Click here for “From Pennies to Plastic,” from Thrivent magazine.