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Archive for January 9th, 2021

“Stay close to the candles. The stairway can be… treacherous”, Frau Blucher, movie: “Young Frankenstein”

Text, from St. Matthew: “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

By the Lord’s appointed natural light, a star, He led hard core pagan astrologers to worship a newly born king.  Little did the Magi know the star would lead them to the light of the world, , God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God.  The Lord led the Magi to Himself. The Lord leads us to Himself. His light to lead us to the supernatural light of Jesus Christ, God’s mercy and love, pure Gospel, the Word made flesh, in Him was life and the life was the light of men. His light of His Word to lead us and others through the darkness.  IN Thy light do we see light.

In one of the many funny scenes in Mel Brooks’, “Young Frankenstein”, Frau Blucher encourages Dr. Frankenstein, Inga and Igor, as they go up the castle’s narrow steps, with no railing, to “Stay close to the candles. The stairway can be… treacherous”, except, the candles are not lit!

Yes, the stairs can be treacherous. Yes, stay close to the candles but if they are not lit…sounds like, in a more serious vein that the problem is correctly stated of the vain and various solutions and salvations of man are like those unlit candles: nice show but no light, e.g. as Scientism, selfism, and spiritualisms are all candle with no light.   From a website:“Scientism is a matter of putting too high a value on natural science in comparison with other branches of learning or culture.” IN other words science itself is made into a religion which it never was meant to be:  “We follow the Science”. No, science does not follow science. Science follows the facts to understand factual truth, not spiritual truth. Scientists are not pastors. Selfism  is  me, myself and I. It is the currently sanctioned religion of the Old Adam that whatever comes out of my mind, sinful as it is, is a new religion and so spiritualisms.

One of the symbols of the Soviet Union was a red star.  In the ’70s, when visiting the Soviet Union with a group from my college, Concordia Senior College, I remember being on Red Square in the evening and seeing a lit red star on one of the towers of the Kremlin. It was eerie and weirdly comforting as it stood for the totalitarian state watching over you and watching you. From a website:  “The red star represents the Communist Party, and its position over the hammer and sickle symbolises its leading role in socialist society to unify and enlighten the workers and peasants in the building of communism.” It enlightened no one.  The red star of Communism leads to a manger without God.  The stars of this world lead only to themselves, again no Lord there. The Star of Bethlehem leads to the manger with the Christ Child, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God (From The Nicene Creed).    

 IF our eyes follow the stars, that is public personalities, we discover, at best, they are light with no warmth, likewise follow the light of dollar signs, ourselves, and indeed those stairs are treacherous.  “If the light in you is darkness—how great the darkness!” (Matthew) Don’t cast the lamp of your eyes upon them. The Lord has first cast the light of His Law, Your Word is lamp unto my feet, a guide unto my path.  He continually shows us the treacherous steps and the treachery of the heart.  Now He has given us the Light made flesh for our forgiveness by His holiness to be holy in love’s pure light. There is no treachery in the Lord.

Epiphany Season is about the light and the light has a name: Jesus Christ. Stay close to this light because the world, the flesh and the devil are treacherous. We need this encouragement in these dark days. Remember as the Lord tells us in His Word, Ephesians 5: 8: “…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”. We stay close to the Lord in the means He has given us: Baptism and Holy Communion and alongside and through the Sacramental life of the Church: He feeds us His Word, written, preached and taught, through prayer and godly conversation, the laughter of the saints and the tears of those who suffer with you. He does this to save us and also to save us for others: to walk with a light step that others may see Christ, the light of the world, His life the light of men.

Like a long lit votive candles’ wax becomes clear near the flame and translucent, the Lord purifies His children.  His light prevents our falling over the edge, and when fallen to pick us up again in joyous repentance and forgiveness. Stay close to the Light and the Light will guide you along the Way and will light the way for a fellow family member and friend to their Lord and God.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14: 12

The “way” that is right to a man, is the way of Herod the Great, who after he said he wanted to worship the newly born king, only wanted to kill Him as he tried when he ordered the deaths of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem.  As St. Ambrose preached on the two ways:

From an Epiphany Sermon by St. Ambrose:“The Magi come by one way, and return by another. For they who had seen Christ, had come to know Christ; and they returned more truly believing than they came. The way is twofold: one that leads to destruction, and the other that leads to the Kingdom. There is the way of sinners, that leads to Herod: this way is Christ by which we return to our country. For here we have no lasting dwelling, as it is written: My soul hath long been a sojourner (Ps. cxix. 6). Let us turn away from Herod- ruler for a while of an earthly power, that we may come to the everlasting dwelling of our heavenly country.

Let us pray…

O Christ, our true and only Light,
Enlighten those who sit in night;
Let those afar now hear Thy voice
And in Thy fold with us rejoice.
  LSB #839, “Mission and Witness” hymn section

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