Sunday, January 02, 2005

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED WHEN IT'S EPIPHANY SUNDAY

So this morning for morning prayer I read the story of the magi visiting Jesus, Matthew 2:1-12, and what I heard through the reading was this- "Jonathon- today look for Me in the unexpected." Being a Sunday Church day and being a youth pastor (this may sound extremely practical and sacrilegious) I really don't expect for there to be much in the way of unexpected at Church. Sunday tends to be pretty routine- get the kids ready and out the door on time with a bit of sanity left, Young Adult Sunday School Class, Worship, Sunday Dinner at my Parent-In-Law's home, and then back to the church to get ready for Youth Fellowship in the evening. Yeah, right God, expect the unexpected....

So I get to church this morning and the youth and I have prepared to hand out flyers informing the congregation that the youth want to spearhead a special offering to go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief to help the relief effort in Southeast Asia. I get up, make my pitch and the youth hand out the flyers- SMOOTH SAILING NO PROBLEMS.

Then it happened... I opened a door and God walked through...

A member of our congregation approached me during the passing of the peace. Bob T. a wonderful person who films documentaries. He tells me that in Feb. he is travelling to Thailand for the month to help with the relief effort. He says that he wants to be helpful with our project in a huge way and to let him know how he can help. He then says he has a lot of resources. I am stunned. I just stood up and shared the effort of UMCOR; I wasn't ready to respond to Bob about what's next...

Then it happened again... the door obviously was still open and God walked through...

It was just after the worship service that Diane S. came up to me and said that what we ought to do next was gather health kit items and have a church wide assembly line day after church and assemble these health kits to send to SE Asia; care of UMCOR.... I said ok, and now I'm heading up the gathering of these materials and next Sunday our church along with our sister church- West Nashville UMC will have pizza after church and assemble health kits to send overseas.

When I woke up this morning I knew that I would be presenting our congregation with a way to be involved with supporting the relief effort in S.E. Asia, what I didn't know was that God was going to show up and expand my commitment to this.

In reading the story of the magi- when they visited the Christ Child, that little Jewish baby boy, they had no idea who he was or exactly what the fullness of his life was to the world. But they were led to him. And when they left the baby, leaving their gifts with him, they didn't leave the same way they came. God showed up and things were different. God opened a door through a dream and they travelled a different route. I suppose God shows up often and we are just so accustomed to living in our routines that we forget to look for God in the ordinary.

But today was the most unordinary ordinary Sunday I've had in quite a while. And now I have much to do this week to plan and mobilize for next Sunday.

Matthew 2:1-12
2In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,a 2asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’b 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.c 5They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’d 7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.e 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’
9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
f 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.g 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.


1 comment:

bro andre, OSB said...

Yes, miracles do happen and in unexpected ways, my friend, but still we are stuned when they come into our lives. Too bad we don't percieve their daily occurance in our journey Home.
Keep up the good work.

Peace and Prayers,
br andre