Mission Thoughts on the Epiphany Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
This is a contrasting gospel that speaks of peace-seekers, and those who seek the opposite. The Matthew story of the wise men striving to find Jesus blossoms when the star they are following leads them to the manger cradle of baby Jesus. Sincerity in seeking the way of peace will ultimately lead one to Christ. The wise men were sincere in their quest and a guiding star was revealed. Herod, whose ultimate goal was absolutely nothing related to peace, could view nothing but clouds of hatred that blotted out the possibility of any celestial guide.
In the remote areas of Cameroon, there are hundreds of Christian village congregations that worship every Sunday, but usually without an ordained pastor. The Lutheran Church of Cameroon consists of approximately 1500 congregations and only about 90 pastors. My wife Valerie and I have been blessed with the opportunity to provide communion services to three village churches. We travel once per month into the bush over very rough roads. Our first venture to these villages was in the midst of apprehension. We were not sure of the way, and our guide was somewhat perplexed. But we eventually arrived safely and conducted services, baptisms and whatever else was required.
Valerie and I had a great sense of satisfaction in the fact that we were able to do this service, but the greater sense of wonder was in the faces of the people, including children who shared communion and blessings. Many of the parishioners, because of a lack of a pastor, had not communed for 18 months, and many desired baptism either for themselves or for their children. In the midst of a life of fieldwork, hauling water, and existing in their homes far from the convenience of a more modern world where a switch gives you light or a tap produces water, their faces reflect joy and an inner peace.
Epiphany is a celebration of a joyful discovery and we, along with others on a quest to discover this inner peace that is promised, can capture the joy of the wise men whose quest was fulfilled in Jesus.