January 6, 2021

Lead, Kindly Light

How am I changed by my worship of God's Anointed? Do I return home afterwards the same as I was before? Or does my experience of Jesus send me out 
  O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.
Psalm 84:12
Today is Epiphany, Three Kings Day, when we remember the magi who traveled from far away to acknowledge the lordship of the Babe of Bethlehem. Like most religious holidays, there's more than one message on Epiphany. I want to highlight two: 
  1. Not until the Palm Sunday narratives do we find a stronger message about Jesus' royal authority—which is amazing, considering the fact that he's still a Baby. 
  2. This was the first time we find Gentiles acknowledging Jesus.
Both of these messages are all the more astounding when you think about the trust required on the part of the magi. They were not Jewish—but they set out on their journey to God's earthly dwelling place with the same confidence as Jewish pilgrims centuries earlier who made the pilgrimage to the temple. These magi were acknowledged by both Jew and Gentile as wise, and yet they bent the knee to a foreign Infant. And their worship changed them. Matthew tells us that they did not go back the way they came

How am I changed by my worship of God's Anointed? Do I return home afterwards the same as I was before? Or does my experience of Jesus send me out into the world to take a new path, one that requires trust in the God who called and sent me?

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.
 Matthew 2:10-11a
After thinking about today's devotion pray these hymn lyrics:
Lead, kindly Light, amidst the grey and gloom.
The night is long and I'm far from home.
Here in the dark, I do not ask to see
the path ahead—one step enough for me.
Lead on, lead on, kindly light.
✙ 
I was not ever willing to be led.
I could have stayed, but I ran instead.
In spite of fear, I followed my pride;
my eyes could see, but my heart was blind.
Lead on, lead on, kindly light.
 
And in the night, when I was afraid,
your feet beside my own on the way.
Each stumbling step where other folk have trod
shortens the road leading home to my God.
 
My God, lead on, kindly light.
 John Henry Newman, 1833 (alt.)
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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