Strange visitors come from far off places to rural Judea asking to see the new born king. Directed by a “star” the foreigners find the child and discover than he is far more than just an earthly king.
Pastor Tim LeCroy preaches on the visit of the wise men to the infant Jesus in Matthew 2:1-12.
Why Mathematicians Can’t Find the Hay in a Haystack: https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-mathematicians-cant-find-the-hay-in-a-haystack-20180917/
A star burned in the sky more brightly than all the others; its light was indescribable, its newness marvelous, and all the other stars, along with the sun and moon, formed a chorus around this star, the light of which reached farther than that of any other. Then all magic was destroyed, and every bond wrought by wickedness was broken, and the ancient kingdom was razed. When God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life, his counsel began to be fulfilled.
-St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 100 AD
The gifts of God are multiplied, and we in our time experience all that the first believers did. For though the gospel account tells us only of the days when three men, untaught by prophetic preaching or the testimonies of the Law, came from the distant East in order to know God, yet we see the same thing happening now even more clearly and on a far larger scale in the enlightenment of all who are called.
-Pope St. Leo the Great, 5th c.
Today the magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see: heaven on earth, earth in heaven, humanity in God, God in humanity, one whom the whole universe cannot contain now enclosed in a tiny body.
-Peter Chrysologus, 5th c.
Scripture Texts: Isaiah 60:1-6
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.
Psalm 72:1–11, 18
1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
5 May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
7 In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!
9 May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!
18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way
“Finding Hay in a Haystack” a sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Timothy R. LeCroy on Sunday, January 14, 2024 at New Life Presbyterian Church, 950 Danby Rd., Ithaca, NY. Join us for worship every Sunday at 10:00AM. Visit us at our website at www.newlifeithaca.org.
The intro and outro music is from “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” provided by Sandra McCracken and with her permission. Please visit her website at www.sandramccracken.com.