I work better with others so I thought I'd try typing out my thoughts while working on my sermon as if I were speaking them out loud to a fellow sermon writer sitting across the table from me at the library... or more likely, Panera.
Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12
Working Title: Gift Exchange
- Have you subscribed yet to Feasting on the Word, Barbara Brown Taylor and David L. Bartlett's commentary? It breaks every passage down into the Theological, Pastoral, Exegetical, and Homiletical Perspective. And more importantly, it has made me look BRILLIANT in the pulpit every week since receiving it.
- Epiphany miracle = magi asking Herod where the (real) King is... and they weren't killed on the spot.
- The gifts presented really miss the baby shower mark. Did Mary scan the wrong items at Target?
- Once you meet Christ, you can no longer walk the same road back.
- We 'miss' the real Epiphany moment that these magi had because we hear the Hebrew Scriptures with the correct timing as we walk through the Advent and Christmas seasons. These men realized it in their own 'a-ha' moment (thank you Oprah) - the prophecies of the Messiah had become a reality.
- Interesting that Matthew - the Jew that believes his own people have missed the point - would take such painstaking care to describe the story of how outsiders opened their hearts and minds and followed the signs to find - and bow down to - the Christ.
- The hymn breaks down the gifts the magi bring, but the real gift is their recognition of who the toddler before them is.
- What do we do with the gift that for many in our pews has simply been handed to them, no excruciating journey necessary? Do we exchange it for other things/values that make us feel better? That don't challenge us as much? Do we keep the gift wrapped because it is easier to assume we control it that way?
- God is determined to be found.
Focus: "Lift up your eyes and look around" - This Gift is for you.
Function: Encourage folks to embrace The Gift and allow The Gift - the light, the love - to change them.