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Jan. 3 Gathering: Disturbing Herod

An epiphany for Epiphany

Display at the Walled Off Hotel Museum, Bethlehem, Palestine (Photo by Joe Webb)

In the traditional Revised Common Lectionary reading for Epiphany, the writer of Matthew tells the familiar story of magi from the East bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn child Jesus.

In the midst of that story, the writer notes that, upon hearing the purpose of the magi’s quest for the new king of Israel, “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2:3, NIV)

Why was Herod disturbed? Because he knew the magi’s message meant a challenge to his power and privilege…even though he was no more than a puppet king serving only by and for the will of Caesar. And his reputation as a violent, unhinged, murderous tyrant certainly meant that if Herod was disturbed, the rest of Israel should be disturbed as well.

Does this part of the Epiphany story hold any meaning for us today? Are there imperialist leaders, systems, and structures that need to hear anew the challenge of a movement of the people of Jesus to topple the powers and principalities of greed, oppression, and marginalization?

Is it time once again for the Herods among us to be disturbed, and all their followers and minions along with them?

Join us this Sunday, Jan. 3, in the New Wineskins Virtual Pub as we take a look at the politically and socially subversive message of Epiphany through the lens of the visiting magi and discuss how Jesus is still coming to disrupt institutions of privilege to lift up the outcast and restore justice.

Happy Half Hour Zoom Connection opens at 6:00pm
Conversation begins at 6:30pm

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