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Monday Morning Quarterback, Epiphany (Wednesday evening edition)

Well I’m two posts in and I’ve already missed my deadline, but trust me with good reason.  Since it is so late into the week already I’ll keep this one short, which is probably a wise idea anyway.  This past Sunday we heard the story of the visit of the Magi from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 2:1-12).  I’d like to focus on just one small part of this reading for today.

In Mt 2:3 we read, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”  Given what we know of people in Herod’s position we can likely understand why he would be troubled.  Would this new king unseat him?  Would the rumor of his coming be enough to cause an insurrection?  Would Rome think he had lost control and punish him for it?  All of these things are bad enough to trouble a man holding what was really a tenuous position – lose favor for any reason and he could find himself washing potatoes or worse for the rest of his life.  But notice the second half of the sentence – “and all Jerusalem with him.

Why would all of Jerusalem be troubled?  After all, this was their long-awaited savior – no matter whether their expectations leaned more to the spiritual or the temporal this would seem to be a cause of joy, not unease.  One thing that is almost unalterable about human nature – we are always at least a little afraid of change.  No matter how bad now feels, at least we know what it is.  This new king would almost inevitably cause significant changes in their lives.  Even if those changes proved to be for the better, it is incredibly easy to get comfortable in what is already now.

I know for me when I come to realize (and I do, over and over again, right before I get SQUIRREL distracted and forget again) that Christ truly is Lord and King along with that realization comes an incredible unease.  Let’s face it, I’m no saint.  But if I’m going to admit to Christ’s Kingship and His right to place demands on my actions and attitude that means I have to change, and not “some day” or “right as soon as I’m done with this” or “as soon as I can get that out of the way”.  Now.  I may be a screw-up, but I’m a fairly “good guy” screw-up.

That, right there, is the modern day trap.  We’re not called to be a “good guy” or “good girl” – we’re called to be saints.  Now that unease that the people in Jerusalem felt hits home.  No matter how good things might become, things were going to have to change.  They were going to have to change.  It’s our choice whether we let that fear overwhelm us or whether we set our own faces like flint and start walking our path toward the Lord, no matter how many times we fail.  Be not afraid!

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