By Lilly Lewin
In January, I like to continue to remember the childhood of Jesus and realize that even though the lectionary grows him up quickly, we don’t have to do that in our own devotions and reflections. Like Mary, we can continue to ponder all the wondrous things that happened around the birth of Jesus and consider the shepherds, the angel’s visits, and later the visit of the Magi. With the drama and tragic losses happening in places like Puerto Rico, Australia, and Iraq and Iran, we can take time to consider the horrific murder of all the boys under two that resulted from Herod’s jealousy. Remembering that the joy and wonder of the Incarnation happens in the midst of pain and suffering, loss and tragedy even now.
Read again the story of the visit of the Magi in Matthew 2
Am I disturbed by the arrival of Jesus? Does the announcement of a NEW KING disturb me, or terrify me? Am I afraid or jealous like Herod of the new king? Am I numb like the scholars in the palace who didn’t seem to be paying attention to the signs in the heavens? One definition of disturb is “disrupt the normal pattern.” Am I willing to let Jesus disrupt my normal patterns this year? Am I willing to be willing?
It’s always bothered me that the chief priests and the religious scholars just stayed stuck in the palace. Herod asked them where the king, the Messiah was supposed to be born, and they told him Bethlehem; yet we don’t have any record of any of them joining the search. Wouldn’t you think someone would be a little curious about these foreign visitors? Wouldn’t you think someone would follow along to see if the Star was true? Were they so caught up in the vortex of the palace, so into power and wealth, the splendor of it all that they just stayed stuck?
Sunday night at thinplaceNASHVILLE, we did what I call a “Duct Tape Confessional.” We passed around a roll of duct tape and some sharpie markers. Everyone tore off a piece of tape and then folded the sticky sides together. We wrote on the tape, all the things that were keeping us stuck and keeping us from following the Star in 2020. We wrote down the things that were stopping us from worshiping Jesus. And we laid these in the centerpiece of hay, giving them to God to have and asking Jesus to help us see His Light and Follow the Star in 2020.
What things are keeping you stuck in the palace right now?
What things are keeping you stuck and not allowing you to follow the Star?
Use some duct tape to help you get “UNSTUCK.” Allow Jesus to have these things and hold them for you.
We also talked about the people and places that need the LIGHT of Jesus this year.
Each person had a sheet with an outline of 4 large stars. On two stars we wrote down the names of friends, family, co workers, or people groups who need to see and know the LIGHT OF JESUS.
On the second two stars, we wrote down the places where the LIGHT of Jesus needs to be seen this year. The places could be countries like the Bahamas, still recovering from the hurricane, or places like the White House, Congress or Parliament. We prayed for these people and places to experience the great LIGHT AND LOVE of Jesus in 2020.
Some people cut out their stars and put them in their journals, some people did extra designs and artwork on their stars. The idea is to use the stars as reminders to continue to pray for these people and places in the weeks ahead.
Who are the people and what are the places you want to pray for today and in the days ahead? Create your prayer stars to help remind you to pray.
In my tradition, the season of Epiphany, celebrating the LIGHT coming to all people, continues until Shrove Tuesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season. So we still have time to celebrate.
I want to make sure I’m paying attention in 2020! I don’t want to miss the signs of the Incarnation around me! I don’t want to stay stuck in the palace, too afraid, too busy, or just too distracted by the news of the day to go follow the Star!
let’s pray for the LIGHT and LOVE of JESUS to fill each of so that we may take and be this LIGHT to the World! AMEN
©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com
This is a very reflective and useful way to prepare. Thank. Shall do it. Mary