Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Having an Epiphany:

(He Qi)

Arise! Shine! Your light has come;
    the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.
Though darkness covers the earth
    and gloom the nations,
    the Lord will shine upon you;
    God’s glory will appear over you.
Nations will come to your light
    and kings to your dawning radiance.
Lift up your eyes and look all around:
    they are all gathered; they have come to you.
Your sons will come from far away,
    and your daughters on caregivers’ hips.
Then you will see and be radiant;
    your heart will tremble and open wide,
    because the sea’s abundance will be turned over to you;
    the nations’ wealth will come to you.

Countless camels will cover your land,
    young camels from Midian and Ephah.
They will all come from Sheba,
    carrying gold and incense,
    proclaiming the Lord’s praises.
(Isaiah 60:1-6; Common English Bible)

When Herod was King, eastern boffins came to Jerusalem after the birth of Jesus. "In our observatory, we saw a new star come to life, marking the birth of your new king. Where might we find him? We want to honor him and pay our respects." Geeks don't always exhibit the best of skills in social graces - King Herod was terrified of this omen.
He stepped out to meet with his own egg-heads and theology nerds: "Where will the Messiah be born?"
"Our studies of the works of the Prophets tell us that it will be in Bethlehem."
Herod then met in secret with his visitors. Feigning to share their interest in science and learning, he discovered from them the exact time and day that the star first appeared. "Here is a pass. Go to the village of Bethlehem. If you find the king, hurry back and tell me. I also want to honor him and pay my respects!"
Wise-men but none-the-wiser, they set out. The star's final position confirmed the Bethlehem hypothesis. They were overwhelmed with the joy of success. They entered the house where the new family was living. Seeing the baby with his mother, they knelt down. In addition to the gold and frankincense that Isaiah had listed on the baby-shower registry, they gave the baby embalming myrrh as well. See what I mean about them not always being socially appropriate or sensitive?
God removed their blinders and they decided it probably wasn't such a good idea to go back to Herod after all, so they snuck out of town the back way singing a song where they pretended to be kings...
Herod was severely pissed-off, so he sent his thugs to kill all the babies in the small quiet village that had always seemed so safe - until hell fell upon them.
(Retelling of Matthew 2:1-12 and 16-18) 

What is a king O Herod?
God, give your judgments to the king.
    Give your righteousness to the king’s son.
Let him judge your people with righteousness
    and your poor ones with justice.
Let the mountains bring peace to the people;
    let the hills bring righteousness.
Let the king bring justice to people who are poor;
    let him save the children of those who are needy,
        but let him crush oppressors!
Let the king live as long as the sun,
    as long as the moon,
        generation to generation.
Let him fall like rain upon fresh-cut grass,
    like showers that water the earth.
Let the righteous flourish throughout their lives,
    and let peace prosper until the moon is no more.
Let the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute;
    let the kings of Sheba and Seba present gifts.
Let all the kings bow down before him;
    let all the nations serve him.
Let it be so, because he delivers the needy who cry out,
    the poor, and those who have no helper.
He has compassion on the weak and the needy;
    he saves the lives of those who are in need.
He redeems their lives from oppression and violence;
    their blood is precious in his eyes.
(Psalm 72:1-7 and 10-14; Common English Bible)

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