In this video, Bishop Ward talks about Epiphany and the Cabinet’s time doing Disaster Response in South Carolina.
“Arise and shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” These beautiful words from Isaiah 60 are our song, as the star shines bright in the sky.
This is the time of Epiphany, the appearing, the appearing of Jesus Christ as Lord, the appearing of a magnificent star which beckoned wise ones from the east. They came bearing strange, mysterious gifts — ones we would not expect for a tiny baby — gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The star, the scripture says, traveled across the sky until it stopped over the place where the Christ child was. That place was far away because Mary and Joseph, being warned in a dream of the danger to the Christ child, took a long journey to escape the wrath of Herod who, having heard that a baby would had born who would rule over Israel, became fearful and began to kill all the baby boys in the region.
Mary and Joseph and Jesus were in Egypt when magi arrived. Imagine their surprise as the magi knelt and opened these gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then the scripture tells us in Matthew that they returned home another way.
When we fall on our knees before this Christ child, now a refugee child in Egypt, and arise, we, like the magi, are different. We return home another way. We return home changed, ready to proclaim what we have seen and experienced.
In this New Year, it’s my prayer that the North Carolina Conference will rise and shine in all sorts of new ways as we serve Jesus Christ in the world. In December, the Cabinet and I traveled to South Carolina where we spent a couple of days engaged in disaster response. Our neighbors in South Carolina have had drastic impact as thousands, tens of thousands of families remain impacted from the October flooding.
I hope in this year that we will turn toward our neighbors. That groups of young people and women and men will travel to South Carolina and be connected with a family in need. As we repair homes, we will be blessed and we will be a blessing.
Here in North Carolina, we remember the impact of storms upon the lives of our neighbors close by. This is an opportunity to rise and shine in the New Year, one of many.
May Christ be with us in power as we return from Bethlehem another way.