I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and though all and in all.
~ Ephesians 4:1-6
"Why did not the star take the Wise Men straight to Bethlehem without any necessity of consulting the Scriptures? Because God wanted to teach us that we should follow the Scriptures and not our own murky ideas." These are the words of Martin Luther taken from The Martin Luther Christmas Book. What an honest and straightforward way of reminding us that we cannot rely solely on our own intuition.
January 6th marks the holy day of Epiphany. It is the season of revelations and of the church proclaiming that the baby Jesus we celebrate is Christ our Lord. It is the season that we proclaim that Jesus came into the world not just for some select few but for all!
This text from Ephesians reminds us that all who have been baptized have been called to serve and love our neighbor. I so enjoy the line, "just as you were called to the one hope of your calling." This calling is not a burden, it is one of excitement, anticipation and hope. This calling is from God and we are led by God's Word and Spirit, not "our own murky ideas." Thank goodness! I know I would be in a heap of trouble if, while trying to live out my calling, I relied on my "own murky ideas." If I did that, my calling would be motivated by selfishness and vanity. Martin Luther continues, "If we Christians would join the Wise Men, we must close our eyes to all that glitters before the world and look rather on the despised and foolish things, help the poor, comfort the despised, and aid the neighbor in his need."
We go into the season of Epiphany with the sure and certain knowledge that we are called by God in all the various roles we play in our daily life. Let us use this season to share the love of Christ with all, knowing that we are not alone; that we are all part of the Body of Christ! And as the Body of Christ, we are called to help all those in need and we must "speak the truth in love".
Let us pray,
Gracious God, we give you thanks for giving us your Son, Jesus Christ; who is the light of the world and clears the darkness away. May we, during this season of Epiphany, be a light to others who are in darkness; may we be a word of grace to those who need it and may we live out our baptismal calling in all that we do and say. Amen
Pastor Karla Wildberger
Wartburg Theological Seminary
Director for Admissions
This monthly devotion has been sent to you from the Covenant Cluster seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Covenant Cluster schools include the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, Ohio) and Wartburg Theological Seminary (Dubuque, Iowa).