10 Jan Sermon Snap Shot January 6, 2019
We embody the Magi’s hope when we are open to God moving in unexpected ways, places and people.
I mentioned two Sundays ago that it made no sense for the angel of the Lord to appear to the lowly shepherds. It would have more sense had the angel appeared to Caesar Augustus in Rome, or Quirinius in Syria or Herod in Jerusalem. Similarly, it makes no sense for these Magi or wise men to travel hundreds of miles – two to three weeks most likely – to visit this Jewish baby. I’m sure their arrival was shocking to Mary and Joseph. Who are these mysterious Gentiles who have come to visit us? God, what in the world is going on?
But God has a way of moving in unexpected ways, places and people.
When I think back on my nearly 20 years of full-time ministry, the person who probably challenged me the most – while also teaching me the most about what being a pastor means – was one of the least likely people. Kenneth Maxwell, may he rest in peace, was a smart, funny and compassionate soul…who was also a bi-polar, long-time alcoholic, Jehovah’s Witness, homeless man who was pretty much on trespassing notice at most churches and places of business around town. And yet, he was a dear friend and conversation partner to me and many others. I’ll never forget how many people – from all walks of life – showed up for his funeral. Hundreds of folks…who all had a story to share about Kenneth and how he had touched their lives.
Just as these Magi from the east embodied hope by searching for an unexpected person in an unexpected place, we embody the same hope when we are willing to look for God at work in the most unusual, unpredictable ways, people and places as well.
From Sunday, January 6 message based on Matthew 2:1-12, “The Hope of the Magi”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC