What does January 6 have to do with Epiphany? What does a day where we talk about mysterious strangers from a distant land visiting Jesus have to do with the day where a mob attacked the US Capitol?
Epiphany has a lot to do with January 6 if we really look at the Epiphany story.
We remember the story from our childhood, where Wise Men from the East follow a star. They come to Jerusalem and to the royal palace to ask the King where is the King of the Jews?
That bothered the king. Herod was the king of Judea, put in his role by Rome. He in turn supported great building projects that showed off this backwater part of the empire.
Since he didn’t come from the line of David, his rule was somewhat illegitimate, and he probably was aware of this fact. So much so that he would lock up or kill members of his family! When the Wise Men come and ask where the King of the Jews was, Herod was upset. Someone was coming for his throne.
Herod is wrapped into the bearings of power. He is in Jerusalem the center of power, he has the blessing of Rome. When the Wise Men went to see Jesus, they went to not somewhere in Jerusalem, but in the small town of Bethlehem going to a small house where Mary, Joseph and the Baby resided. It was there that these Wise Men honored Jesus, giving him gifts. No one knew about Jesus. He wasn’t at the center of power but on the margins. He didn’t have the power of Rome behind him. Jesus didn’t look powerful.
On January 6, we are looking back at what took place at the US Capitol. Former President Donald Trump didn’t want to concede the Presidential race to former Vice President Joe Biden. He tried every trick in the book to find a way to remain in power. He tried in the courts and lost almost all of his cases. He tried bullying state officials in certain states to find votes for him. That didn’t work. Now he was trying to persuade (aka bully) Vice President Mike Pence to not accept the certified votes. Pence refused and that is when we saw what happened at the Capitol.
Donald Trump wanted power. Not unlike Herod, he was insecure. Trump wants nothing more than to be successful and he was willing to do anything, even if it meant weakening our democratic process.
Donald Trump and Herod were powerful men. They were tapped into the ways of the world where power can be used to dominate others. They would do anything, in order to remain in power. For Herod, it meant sending his soldiers into Bethlehem and killing every male-born baby under the age of two. For Trump, it meant riling up his supporters and pointing them down to the Capitol where they would protest the certification of the presidential vote (and basically riot in the Capitol).
But Jesus is the Servant-King. When he grows up he will serve others by healing and welcoming people. Jesus ends up on a cross; the ultimate sign of living for others.
January 6 reminds us that there are still rulers that will do anything to keep their power and they are always threatened by the power of the true Lord, the true King, Jesus Christ.
As followers of Jesus, who do we follow? Are we tempted by the ways of power, like Herod and Trump? Or are we willing to follow the baby who grows up to be a servant? Will we look for God in the world’s trappings of power or will we find God on the margins?
I hope you have a good Epiphany. I hope you will not be tempted by kings and presidents and follow the one who died for us and redeemed all of creation.
#epiphany #january6 #politics #uscapitol