I was excited to get my new Pastor’s Desk diary from Concordia Publishing House. That reminded me of a deadline I had –
I opened up my ephemeris and found out that I had a Pastor’s Corner article due for the newspaper two days after the celebration of Epiphany with the arrival of the Wise Men in Jerusalem looking for the new born King of the Jews. They studied ephemeris’ as well. Ephemeris is a Greek word that means “of a day” and so in the magical way that words develop an “ephemeris” came to mean a diary. I have a Pastor’s Desk diary and so I can see what is going on in any given day and I can write what happened that day. Ephemeris’ were also the tools in trade for astronomers and astrologers. They were charts that marked the position of heavenly bodies that could be plotted and followed through the heavens and their position would change daily. Ephemeris were great gifts in the courts of Kings and would be used to figure out good times for weddings or the future of royals by looking at the date of their birth. Both a diary and a star chart also show us the rapid flight of our days and that we are “ephemeral”. We are like the grass that comes up in the morning and flowers and in the evening is cut down and withers. The poets and prophets picked up on that by inspiration and reminded us that only “the Word of the Lord endures forever”. We are ephemeral, “children of a day”, but God’s Word forever will abide.
That eternal Word was “made flesh and dwelt among us” the Evangelist said. Jesus told the disciples that they would see him for a while and then not see him. The eternal becomes ephemeral. “The Word becomes incarnate and yet remains on high” says the old hymn. All these mysteries come at Epiphany which begins with the Wise Men and ends on a mountain of transfiguration where glory is ephemeral. It doesn’t even last for a day, and there is no reason to set up little tents to behold the glory as Peter wanted to do. The glory is in the Cross where a King is enthroned and dies for the sins of the whole world.
That is the story in diary entry way. If you are a diary type person that enters more than the temperature and the amount of snow that fell; if you write thoughts and hopes and dreams; then mark this down; the child born where the hopes and fears of all the year met; the one worshipped by shepherds and Wise men is for you. The weeks ahead will see water turned to wine, various miracles, and a mountaintop flash of glory that leads to another mountain and a splash of blood that covers you and takes away sin. These things happened so that you, ephemeral child of dust will shine like the stars.