Acts 2 and 3
by Janet Carpenter
Act 2, Matthew 2:1-18
It is 12 days after the birth of Jesus in Jerusalem (Epiphany.) On the stage alone is King Herod. Now the Magi arrive, expecting to find the infant Jesus there. Instead, Herod sends them to Bethlehem to find him and return with Jesus’ location. While in Bethlehem, the Magi present their gifts, skip returning to Herod, and head for home by a different road from which they came. Meanwhile, Joseph has a dream telling him to escape to Egypt with his family so that Jesus can be spared Herod’s slaughter of babies age two and under in Bethlehem.
Martin Luther’s Christmas Book
on page 74 describes it thusly:
“The mothers in Bethlehem that evening fed porridge to their children, rocked the cradles, and went to sleep themselves without a care. The next morning there was not a household in which there was one child dead, or two or three.”
CAN WE BLAME THE MAGI FOR THIS BECAUSE THEY DID NOT RETURN TO HEROD?
On page 65 Luther writes
“Jesus was not only born poor and needy but also, on account of Herod, had at once to flee the country. On the journey into Egypt, the presents of the Wise Men must have come in very handy.”
CAN WE COMMEND THE MAGI FOR THESE GIFTS? Blame or commendation, I don’t know.
What I do know is this: we here at First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs are in the midst of a serious Stewardship campaign, the results of which will undoubtedly determine how we will move forward as we must one way or another. Giving to the operating and mission funds of our church is a spiritual act, unlike dues or mortgage or car payments. Each of us is challenged to consider pledging generously, even sacrificially, being neither Herod nor Magi. With our gifts, now we will write FCC’s own story, Act 3.