Huge Hoyas game today. In Morgantown WV. Against the Brokeback Mountaineers. If you need emergency pastoral care in Franklin or Henry counties, please make sure it’s not between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. Thanks. (Kidding.)
After their audience with Herod, the magi set out for Bethlehem.
Literally, the magi eporeuthesan. Whenever this Greek verb appears in the New Testament, it indicates a journey of some distance, a removal from one’s usual location. The word suggests a pilgrimage.
The 2,012th year of grace lies open before us, like a spiritual New World to discover. Where will we go? Where will the star of Christ lead us?
The Lord expects us to share the attitude the magi had:
Lead on, heavenly light. We will follow. Shine wherever you will. We won’t complain about the rigors of the trip, about sore feet or weary bones. We will not lament the comfortable homes we left behind to follow after you. No. To reach You, O Christ of God—to reach You will reward every effort we make. All the hardship will seem like nothing.
Of course, the magi knew what they were doing when they left their homes to follow Christ’s star. After all their long journey, what did they find? They found a beauty beyond what they could have imagined. God, the Lord of the heavens, had become one of us. And He did not sit on a terrible throne, lording it over His subjects with wrath and fire. No. He lay in a manger, a cooing child, smiling up at them.
In Bethlehem, God silently said this to the magi, and to all of us:
People, listen. Every child of this human race excites My love with such boundless zeal that I will personally unite Myself with you. I do not condemn Adam’s confused and struggling offspring; I do not quench the smoldering wick or break the bruised reed. To the contrary, I gather every human child to My breast like a mother hen warming her brood. I say Yes to every last one of you: Yes, I made you. Yes, I will take care of you. Yes, you have a home with Me that nothing can destroy.
In other words, the magi made their pilgrimage and discovered the breathtaking truth of the Gospel of Life.
Some people seem to have the idea that there are unloved and unlovable human beings. But God became the child of an unmarried girl from a ramshackle trailer-trash town, surrounded by bad-smelling hillbilly shepherds with no shoes. So there can be no doubt. God don’t make no junk.
This is why I know that one particular journey has to be marked on my calendar for this new 2012.
The magi would never have complained about setting their alarm clocks for 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. so that they could get themselves on the March for Life bus. They would have seen with eager eyes the star of truth leading them to Washington, to take their loving stand for all of the little brothers and sisters of baby Jesus.
When it comes to following our own personal star to Christ, let me just speak for myself a moment. How could I not see that taking a stand with the Pro-Life Movement flashes in front of my eyes with blinding neon luminosity–like the Mill Mountain star up in Roanoke, stuck right in front of my face?
If I don’t take a stand for the right to life, if I don’t march to the Supreme Court to declare that the abortion license they issued is killing our country like a run-away cancer—if I don’t do that, what could I possibly say about anything?
Sure, I believe that every worker should receive a fair wage. Of course I want everyone to have access to good health care. I want immigrants to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. We should avoid war whenever possible. No rich man should stand above the laws of justice and honesty. We have no right to despoil the environment. We have to protect our American way of life from enemies by just means. Etc.
But if I don’t stand up first for the innocent and defenseless unborn, how can I claim to stand for any of these things? My words would be hollow. My politics would rattle like an empty gourd with nothing but a dried pea inside it. Everything else stands on the foundation of the fundamental right. A third of my own generation has been killed in the womb, deprived of everything. The right to life has to be priority #1.
God don’t make junk. He loves the dickens out of every human being. Let’s make a little pilgrimage to Washington together and take our stand on that.
We will have a good time. After all, the magi enjoyed their arduous pilgrimage. We read that “they rejoiced to see the star,” even after they had already traveled many hundreds of miles.
Monday, January 23rd. We will have a long day of it. We will return home many hours after the sun goes down, exhausted and sore–just like the three wise men were, when they got home, having seen the Savior.