20 + C + M + B + 21

I’m writing on 6 Jan 2021, which many in Christendom celebrate as Epiphany, aka Three Kings Day despite the fact that there is nothing in the Bible that indicates that the Magi were kings, or that there were three of them or that they were male. The significance of Epiphany is that the Infant Christ was revealed to, and recognized by, the Magi, who were not Jews and therefore were Gentiles. This is the first indication that Jesus was born not to redeem the House of Israel, but to be the Savior of all. After seeing the Holy Child and presenting Him with gold, frankincense and myrrh – the three gifts are the reason people assume three Magi – they swung by Herod’s palace to report what they’d experienced unaware that Herod was an asshole. Herod’s response was to order a massacre – the Slaughter of the Innocents.

The official position, since Augustine*, if not longer, is that the Bible records actual events – Mary’s hymen was literally intact when Christ was conceived – and that it is right to interpret the Bible as symbolism because God ordered events in such a way as to provide instruction. We should then take the Slaughter of the Innocents as an event that occurred, and as a symbol.

Another thing happening today is the results are coming in about the Senatorial race in Georgia. The Democrats appear to be winning down in Peachland, and the progressive Christians I follow on Twitter** are jumping for joy. I’m on their side, but with less enthusiasm. From where I’m sitting, the Dems are the lesser of two evils, nothing more nor less. I’m glad they’re flipping the Senate and very glad to see Mitch McTurtle*** ousted, but I am under no delusions that the Dems are going to usher in a Golden Age of economic justice, affordable healthcare, racial reconciliation or equality for all because I don’t smoke that shit no mo’.

1 Samuel 8 is where God clearly and unequivocally states His position on kings, which we can extend to any human rulers, and tells us what to expect of them. He hasn’t been proven wrong. Some rulers have been worse than others, but in all cases government of/by/for the people is not what God wanted us to have.

Fortunately, God is willing to put up with our shit. The Christian**** university where I got my Bachelors***** introduced me to the concept of God’s Remedial Plan, which is basically God’s plan with edits. See, God had a plan for how things would go here on His footstool Earth, but people showed themselves capable of fucking up everything they touched, so God has had to change the plan to accommodate our constant bungling. That’s why we ain’t living happily and naked in the woods, eating pineapples and letting our toddlers play with lions and vipers. The entire OT is God giving clear directions and people saying “Nah, we’ll do it our way” with disastrous results. Over and over. But God keeps on saying, “Okay. It’d be better if you didn’t, but…” and continuing to be our God.

Y’all, fr’real, I’da pulled the plug on the whole human race sometime in the Bronze Age. God is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more tolerant of stupid than me.

On 25 December, we celebrate the birth of this incredibly patient and loving God in the form of a human baby, and on 6 January, we celebrate the fact that He expanded his “chosen people” to include all of us, including those of us whose ancestors were wandering around the low portion of central Europe wearing deer skins and eating sauerkraut****** when He was laid in a manger. God is God for us all. Jesus is Savior for us all.

I spent a bit of my morning in the back yard, burning stuff in the cracked chiminea and thinking about the presence of God in the world, and about Ash Wednesday, when some of Christendom gets the sign of the Cross smudged on their foreheads and gets reminded that they are dust and to dust will return. I don’t know how that ceremony will happen this year, with COVID19 still happening. If the Virginia Synod decides not to do the thing, I’ll get ashes from the chiminea and smudge my own head. I ain’t proud. Or scared. I’ve got an idea for how it could be done without turning it into a super-spreader – I should email somebody about that.

The world we live in is not the world God intended, whether the Dems have control or not. We cannot truly live as God would have us do because we are stuck in a context that prevents it. Shit, we can’t even be martyrs for the Faith because the secular powers figured out a long time ago that co-opting Christianity was better for them than persecuting it. We can do our best, but we cannot attain to anything like righteousness.

Some people find that kinda talk discouraging. I find great comfort in our powerlessness, much more in God’s Grace, which makes up for all our fails. I am quite happy to do what little I can, knowing that the Divine, having been a human and experiencing our sorry lot, understands what we’re up against and continues to love us. The Creator and Sustainer of all possible worlds knows that while I’m working at the homeless shelter I’m frequently cussing the homeless in my head for being incapable of following the shelter rules, and He makes that okay. this is important to me because I am very conscious of the fact that I am a miserable sinner – made miserable by my sins and apparently incapable of doing better. The willing sacrifice of the Christ makes it all okay. I don’t even have to understand how.

Christ appeared and He did so for us all, which is a thing we should celebrate.

*You say “uh-GUST-in”, I say “AWE-gust-een”, let’s call the whole thing off.

**Follow me @LutherWolfen. They stole my “von”.

***I sincerely believe the best time to kick a man is when he’s down.

****Anabaptist, but it still counts.

*****I don’t technically have my Bachelors yet. I’m a few credits short.

******I keep meaning to get some cabbage and start a batch of ‘kraut, but I also keep not actually doing it. The same is occurring regarding those few credits I’m short on.


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