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Message based upon Matthew 2:1-12
Today we are celebrating the Sacrament of Communion for the celebration of Epiphany. Epiphany falls on January 6th, 12 days after Christmas and is a time we commonly remember the arrival of the Wise Men in Bethlehem. Although not celebrated as much here in the United States in countries like Germany, Epiphany is a big event. Children dress up as kings and travel from door to door much as we do on Halloween only instead of collecting for themselves they collect money for the poor, remembering that the wise men brought gifts to the poor Christ child. Epiphany comes to remind us of the truth that the God of all creation came to us in the form of an infant child to declare His love for us. When the wise men found Jesus we heard the following in our gospel lesson:
On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. (Matthew 2:11 NRSV translation)
Then they opened their treasures and offered him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each of these three gifts has symbolic value. The gold symbolizes Jesus’ kingly estate. The frankincense was used in worship often and symbolizes His priestly role. The myrrh was one of the ointments with which bodies were prepared for burial and symbolized the future sacrifice that Jesus would later make on behalf of all humanity. These were precious gifts, an offering fit for a king indeed. There is an important lesson we can learn through Epiphany. Whatever we place before Christ should be costly. By costly we mean that in some way or form we must sacrifice in our lives something to better serve God and our neighbors. While gifts like gold, frankincense and myrrh are wonderful; Christ has the desire that we offer our lives to him in loving service.
As we have come to worship God this morning, we are presented a gift from Christ to experience for ourselves. This is the gift of Holy Communion, the gift to seek forgiveness for our sin and the gift to renew our pledge and loyalty of serving Christ and loving others. Let us come to the Lord’s Table.
The Rev. Dr. David A. Marcus, Jr.
January 6, 2019