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Pastor’s Message

 

 

 

 
Christ be my Leader by night as by day; Safe through the darkness, for He is the way,
Gladly I follow, my future His care, Darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.”    LSB 861:1
 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

            Happy New Year!  Take a moment and try to think back to exactly one year ago.  What were you doing as 2020 began?  What was especially important to you?  What were your biggest fears?  Was there something you were really excited about?  Were there big plans you were making?  It is hard to believe that one year ago most of us had never heard of the coronavirus or COVID-19 or of the term social distancing.  You probably never imagined wearing a mask when you went out in public.  Reflecting on this makes me wonder about the future.  What will 2021 be like?  What new experiences will we have this year?  What challenges will we face?  What sorrows or suffering might we experience, and what joys will surprise us along the way?  Where will we be when we turn the page on the calendar from 2021 to 2022?

            As I was pondering these things, I found comfort in the Epiphany story recorded in Matthew 2:1-12.  I would invite you to pause at this point and pull out your Bible (or use your Bible App) and read these verses.  There is much in this story that is and remains a mystery to us, but as you read it, consider all the ways that the Lord led the magi/wise men on their journey.  (Read Matthew 2:1-12) The first part is one of the things that is a mystery to us.  Somehow, these magi from the East knew the special significance of the appearance of this star.  They knew that it meant the King of the Jews was born, and somehow they also knew that this was significant for them.  Consequently, they journeyed to where they expected to find the King of the Jews—the city of Jerusalem.  However, this was not the right place, was it?!  Upon arriving there, the Lord had to lead them to the right place.  Here, He used His Word.  Quoting from the prophet Micah, the chief priests and scribes directed them to Bethlehem.  So, they departed for Bethlehem and, to their great joy, the star that they had seen now went before them until it came to rest over the place where Jesus was.  This is another one of the great mysteries of the story—what was that star like and how could they follow under it?  I don’t know the answers to these questions, but the Lord led them to Jesus.  Then, upon worshipping Him and giving Him gifts, they were guided by the Lord yet again—this time through a dream so that they did not return home via Jerusalem and wicked King Herod who had his own designs for Jesus, but instead returned to their own country by another route.  What a journey!!! 

            What a journey we are on as well!  What a year 2020 was!  What a year 2021 will be!  What is certain is that the Lord is leading us, and His love is supporting us.  Read through the hymn verse at the beginning of this article.  As you do, think about the words and how they were true for those wise men.  Then, read it again and think about your own life.  These words are true for you!  Although we can’t see into the future (it is dark to us), Jesus, the Light of the World that no darkness can overcome, lights our way and leads us.  Gladly we follow Him for our future is in and under His care.  He is the One who shepherds God’s people.  He is the one who leads and shepherds you throughout your life.  Although you don’t know where you go or what you will do or what is in store, you can be confident that He will light your way and make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you. 

                                                                                                                                   
Epiphany peace be yours,
                                                                                                                                   
Pastor Liebich