|Today is Epiphany for the Western Church, while the Eastern Church celebrates Christmas. Epiphany simply means revealing – a revelation of God to the Wise Men and a revelation of the opposition God’s truth faces in a fractured world.
While Herod emerges as the villain of the piece, I sadly cannot fail to recognise myself in him. There’s a fault line within me that can all too easily direct malicious thoughts towards others.
Why is it I move to thinking critical, unkind and negative thoughts about others so quickly and with such ease? We are called to love others as we love ourselves, yet I often struggle with that in reality.
Herod, without a moment’s hesitation, moves away from open enquiry to dark assumptions about this defenceless babe who is prophesied to be leader of Israel.
He sees threat and chooses to use his power for evil rather than for good. Herod represents what still remains so poisonous within our world. The way that we look out for ourselves and live constrained by fears that are birthed and fuelled within our own imagination alone.
The power of such malicious thoughts is that they will ultimately give birth to actions so destructive that they mortally damage others. The place I have to start my redemptive journey is in acknowledging that I am not naturally nice; that I am self-centred rather than other-focused.
Yet, a few moments gazing upon Jesus reveals One who lives for the other, ahead of living for himself. He first lives to please God, whatever the consequences. Then he seeks to love others.
When I was a new Christian, there was a chorus that became something of a mantra for my life. It was an explanation of the lovely word JOY. This explanation stated that we are to put Jesus first, ourselves last and others in between. Now, that is the way we are to live today.
(Dr Micha Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings