Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany 2017 Final Mary Letter

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Matthew 2:1-12

Dear Elizabeth,

this is the last letter I will be able to write for some time. The world around us has changed in an instant, and it is both wonderful and frightening all at the same time. I have come to realize that this  is how God works among us, in light and darkness, in an unexpected instant and always bringing a radical change of direction. Let me tell you about our night and what it means for today and our near future.

We were about to settle in for the night. Joseph and I were standing outside in the sweet chill of the darkness, looking up at the stars. It was a beautiful, cool, windless night and the stars seem so bright we felt like we could reach out and touch them. All of the sudden, three strange men and their entourage arrived! They were decked out in the finest robes, robes which were embedded with sparkling jewels and ropes of gold cloth. We really were taken by surprise and stood like statues as they approached. Their interpreter, a gentle young man, told us that they were wise men from the far east, and they had traveled a great distance to meet a king. They had followed his star for many days and it brought them here. They had come from Herod's palace this night, where they had met with the king and told him of their journey. We welcomed them in, with trembling hearts but they were amazingly kind and knelt before our little boy. They brought extraordinary gifts, and despite our protests, they told us they were meant for him. They also told us to flee this place, as we were no longer safe. Joseph told them of his dream and they confirmed his suspicions. They encouraged us to go into Egypt, they would send word ahead of us, and once we crossed the border, they promised we would be safe. Blessings abounding in one moment and fleeing our homeland in the next.

So, Auntie, it is settled. We go to Egypt, to a strange and frightening place, as refugees from our homes and families. We carry a sacred bundle, this beautiful and dangerous gift, this child that is desired, feared and hated. How can God's love be so scary to some? The wise men promised we would be safe, and that this child would change hearts in ways we could not imagine. They told us they were honored to meet us and would do all in their power for our safety. Off we go,  running like fugitives with all that we own! I hope we can come home soon, but I now can only trust in God's love for us, and put one foot in front of the other. Please never stop praying for us! I will write when I am able. Send Mama and Papa our love too, please.

love always,


1 comment:

Wallace Mills said...

Thank you, MamaBishop, for this wonderful series of Mary Letters! What a blessing they have been during Advent and Christmas.