The Other Wise Man Story

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Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

On Sunday, January 6, 2019, we celebrated the Epiphany of our Lord at worship.  As part of this, Pastor David Tinker shared this abridged version of the famous story, The Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke.

There are numerous editions of the entire story available through book stores and online retailers.  Here is a link to one such version on Amazon.com.  Since there are many versions, you can see other options on that web site.

Here is the abridge version as shared at worship.  Thanks to Pastor Mark Gibbs of St. Michael Lutheran Church, Ottawa Lake, Michigan, for doing the abridgement of this classic tale.

 

The Other Wise Man

“The Other Wise Man” by Henry van Dyke is a powerful story for the Epiphany.  It was first published in 1895.  Today I present an abridged version.

In the days when Augustus Caesar was master of many kings and Herod reigned in Jerusalem, there lived among the mountains of Persia a certain man named Artaban, one of the Magi. Artaban, like his friends Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar, had observed the star and consulted the ancient prophecies regarding the coming child king. He sold all his belongings to purchase gifts for the child-King; a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl. Then he set out on a ten-day journey, to meet his friends, so together they might search for the King.

Time was short. If Artaban arrived too late, his friends would leave without him. Yet, he made good time and on the tenth day his goal was within his grasp.  Only three more hours of hard riding and he would make his rendezvous with his friends. But suddenly, he saw something before him and he reined his horse to a stop. Artaban dismounted.  The dim starlight revealed the form of a man lying across the road. His humble dress and the outline of his haggard face showed that he was probably a Hebrew.  The chill of death was in his lean hand. Artaban turned away with a thought of pity. But as he turned, a long, faint, ghostly sigh came from the man’s lips. The bony fingers gripped the hem of the Magian’s robe and held him fast.

Artaban’s heart leapt to his throat, not with fear, but with a speechless resentment at the importunity of this blind delay.  If he lingered but for an hour his companions would think he had given up the journey. But if he went on now, the man would surely die…

Artaban turned back to the sick man. He stayed there and ministered to the man, for Magians are physician as well.

At last the man’s strength returned; he sat up and looked about him. “Who art thou?” he said, “and why hast thou sought me here to bring back my life?”

“I am Artaban the Magian, and I am going to Jerusalem in search of one who is to be born king of the Jews.”

The Jew raised his trembling hand solemnly to heaven.  “I have nothing to give thee in return – only this: that I can tell thee where the Messiah must be sought.  For our prophets said that he should be born not in Jerusalem, but in Bethlehem of Judah.  May the Lord bring thee in safety to that place, because thou hast had pity upon the sick.”

Artaban pushed on, but alas, he arrived too late. His friends had left without him, leaving him only a note beneath a brick, saying he should purchase provisions and follow them across the desert.  And so he did. He sold his sapphire to purchase the caravan of camels to carry him across the sea of sand that lay before him. After many days, he arrived in the little village of Bethlehem.

The streets of the village seemed to be deserted.  From the open door of a cottage he heard the sound of a woman’s voice singing softly. He entered and found a young mother hushing her baby to rest.  She told him of the strangers from the Far East who had appeared in the village three days ago, and how they said that a star had guided them to the place where Joseph of Nazareth was lodging with his wife and her newborn child.  “But the travelers disappeared again,” she continued, “as suddenly as they had come. The man of Nazareth took the child and his mother, and fled away that same night secretly to Egypt.”

The young mother laid the baby in its cradle, and rose to minister to the wants of the strange guest that fate had brought into her house.  But suddenly there came a noise of a wild confusion in the streets of the village and a desperate cry: “The soldiers!  The soldiers of Herod! They are killing our children!”  The young mother’s face grew white with terror.  She clasped her child to her bosom.  Artaban went quickly and stood in the doorway of the house. The soldiers came hurrying down the street with bloody hands and dripping swords. At the sight of the stranger in his imposing dress they hesitated with surprise. The captain of the band approached the threshold to thrust him aside. But Artaban did not stir. He said in a low voice, “I am all alone in this place, and I am waiting to give this jewel to the prudent captain who will leave me in peace.”

He showed the ruby, glistening in the hollow of his hand like a drop of blood.  The captain was amazed at the splendor of the gem. The pupils of his eyes expanded with desire. He stretched out his hand and took the ruby.  “March on!” he cried to his men.

Artaban reentered the cottage. He turned his face to the east and prayed, “God of truth, forgive my sin! I have said the thing that is not, to save the life of a child. And two of my gifts are gone.”

But the voice of the woman, weeping for joy in the shadow behind him, said very gently, “Because thou hast saved the life of my little one, may the Lord always bless thee.”

And so Artaban pushed on. Down into Egypt he traveled in search of the King. Still his search was to no avail as the King was nowhere to be found. While in Egypt he took counsel with a Hebrew rabbi.  The venerable man read aloud from the sacred scrolls the pathetic words which foretold the sufferings of the promised Messiah. “And remember, my son,” he said, “the King who thou seekest is not to be found among the rich and powerful. Those who seek him will do well to look among the poor and the lowly, the sorrowful and the oppressed.”

Three and thirty years Artaban searched for the King. Worn and weary and ready to die he had come for the last time to Jerusalem.  It was the season of the Passover and the city was thronged with strangers. There had been a confusion of tongues in the narrow streets for many days.  But on this day a singular agitation was visible in the multitude. The clatter of sandals flowed unceasingly along the street that led to the Damascus gate.

Artaban inquired of a group of people nearby the cause of the tumult. “We are going,” they answered, “to the place called Golgotha, outside the city walls, where there is to be an execution.  Two famous robbers are to be crucified, and with them another, called Jesus of Nazareth, who has done many wonderful works among the people, so that they love him greatly.”

Artaban’s heart beat unsteadily with the excitement of old age. He said to himself, “It may be that I shall at last find the King, and in the hands of his enemies no less, and shall come in time to offer my pearl for his ransom before he dies.”  So the old man followed the multitude toward the Damascus gate of the city.

Just then, a troop of soldiers came down the street, dragging a young girl. Suddenly she broke from the hands of her tormentors, and threw herself at Artaban’s feet. “Have pity on me,” she cried, “and save me. My father is dead, and I am seized for his debts to be sold as a slave.”

Artaban trembled. It was the old conflict in his soul, which had come to him in the palm-grove of Persia and in the cottage at Bethlehem.  Twice the gift which he had consecrated to the worship of God had been drawn to the service of humanity. He took the pearl from his bosom and laid it in the hand of the slave-girl.  “This is thy ransom, daughter!  It is the last of my treasures which I kept for the King.”

While he spoke, the darkness of the sky deepened, and tremors ran through the earth. The walls of the houses rocked to and fro. Stones were loose and crashed into the street. The soldiers fled in terror, but Artaban and the girl whom he had ransomed crouched helpless beneath the wall of the Praetorium.  A heavy tile, shaken from the roof, fell and struck the old man on the temple. He lay breathless and pale, with his gray head resting on the girl’s shoulder, and blood trickling from the wound.

Then the old man’s lips began to move and the girl heard him say, “Not so, my Lord! For when saw I thee hungry and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed thee? Three and thirty years have I looked for thee, but I have never seen thy face, nor ministered to thee, my King.”

He ceased and there came a sound akin to a sweet voice. The maid heard it, very faint and far away. And it seemed as though she understood the words, “Verily I say unto thee, inasmuch as thou has done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.”

A calm radiance of wonder and joy lighted the pale face of Artaban.  A long breath of relief exhaled gently from his lips.  His journey was ended.  His treasures were accepted. The Other Wise Man had found the King.

 

 

Christmas Eve and Day 2018

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Christmas Eve and Day Worship Services

Three Opportunities to Celebrate the Birth of Jesus our Savior and Lord:

Christmas Eve, December 24, 6:00 p.m. at MLLC.  This will be a Candlelight Service led by the youth of MLLC.

Christmas Day, December 25, 10:00 a.m. at MLLC.  The annual festival of the Nativity of our Lord.  Joyful singing, Holy Communion.

There will also be a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Holy Communion at 11:00 p.m. at our partner church, Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church. 6915 Waldeck Church Lane, Ledbetter, TX 78946, at the intersection of FM 2145 and FM 1291, about 6.5 miles south of Ledbetter.

Children’s Christmas Program 2016

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The children and youth of MLLC presented a wonderful Christmas Program on Sunday, December 11.  This took place as part of our regular worship service – Sundays at 9:45 a.m.

The play this year was entitled “Simply Christmas”.  This combined God’s Word with songs, stories, humor and action in telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you to the families, children, teens, musicians and adult leaders who put in a great amount of time to prepare and present this excellent program.

After worship the congregation gathered in the Fellowship Hall for a soup lunch and a Happy Birthday Jesus cake for dessert.

Special Events Update

Christmas Eve 2014 Candles

The page where we make note of various upcoming special events has been updated.  We encourage you to check on that page for various updates throughout the year.

As we are entering the more festive part of the church year there will be several items of note.  More updates will be coming in the weeks ahead.

Here is the link to that special page:  Click here.

Christmas Eve 2015

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Our Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) has been working hard preparing for Christmas Eve. As they have done for most of the past many years, they are leading the service and presenting their play. We look forward to seeing you at worship at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, December 24.  This will be a service of Word, Prayer and Song.

This will be our Candlelight Service as well. Come to hear the Good News. Come to support our youth.  Come to celebrate that Jesus Christ has been born for us.

Also note:  we will have our annual Festival Worship with Holy Communion on Christmas Day at 10 a.m.

Invite your friends and family.

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The 12 Days of Christmas

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by Pastor David Tinker
Martin Luther Lutheran Church
Carmine, Texas

When are the 12 Days of Christmas?

The 12 Days of Christmas are the days of the Christmas Season. These are the days between the Nativity of our Lord (December 25) and the Epiphany of our Lord (January 6). There are 2 traditions of counting these 12 Days of Christmas. One tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, and conclude on “Twelfth Night”, which is January 5. The second tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 26, and run through January 6. “Twelfth Night” would then be January 6. Despite the promotions and activity of our culture, the Christian “Christmas Season” begins on Christmas Day, rather than during the time leading up to Christmas.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Here are some ways to mark the 12 Days of Christmas in your home and daily life.
— Daily read something in the Bible about the birth and youth of Jesus. Look especially in Matthew chapters 1-2, and Luke chapter 2.
— For fun with your family sing the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..” Maybe do only the total number of days which have passed. Only on January 5 or 6, depending on how you count these days, would you sing all twelve verses. Another option would be to play a recording of someone singing this popular song.
— Tell others about the 12 Days of Christmas, such as in conversation, letters, e-mail, or on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
— Use 12 candles to count off the days during a meal or at devotions. One more candle is lit each day until all are lit on January 5th or 6th.
— Keep your Christmas tree up until at least January 6.
— Send your Christmas cards during this time, and possibly note the 12 Days of Christmas in your letter to family and friends.
— Attend worship at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine on the two weekends which always occur in the 12 Days of Christmas. These will be on December 27 and January 3 for this season (2015-2016). Some folks pull back from worship during this time and miss out on a joyful time of the year at church.
— Schedule Christmas Parties during this time. You will be less stressed and it will give your friends another chance to get together for joyful fellowship.

Special Days during the 12 Days of Christmas

*December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr. Read about his ministry in Acts chapters 6 and 7
*December 27 – The Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. Read one of the books connected to his ministry, such as the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, and Revelation.
*December 28 – Remembrance of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, Martyrs. Read about these victims of tyranny in Matthew chapter 2, especially verses 16-18.
*December 31 – New Year’s Eve – a chance to reflect on God’s grace for you during this past year.
*January 1 – The Name of Jesus. On this day we remember Jesus’ 8th day. Read about this in Luke 2:21. This is when his name was announced in a public way.
*The Epiphany of our Lord – January 6
‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.’ — Isaiah 9:2

The Epiphany of our Lord is mostly known as the celebration of the arrival of the Magi for their visit to bring their gifts of Jesus. It is much more. When we celebrate the Epiphany we are celebrating the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Epiphany reminds us about the growing glory of God in the Son of God/Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Epiphany is the manifestation, or showing, of Jesus to the world. The Magi were non-Jewish foreigners who came to worship Jesus, and are thus representatives of those who would eventually benefit from the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. This visit, from Matthew chapter 2, foreshadows the mission which Jesus grants to his followers. In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations, not just of the Jews.

Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

— Attend worship on Sunday, January 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.
— Read the story of the Magi in Matthew, which is told throughout chapter 2.
— Pray for Christian missionaries as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
— Pray for the Church around the world.
— Host an Epiphany Party.
— Give generously to people in need. Remember, as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
— Sing “We Three Kings” and/or “The First Noel”
— Attend worship on all or most every weekend in the season after the Epiphany.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The gifts of the Magi to Jesus point us to who Jesus really is:

*The Magi offer Gold, a possession of kings.
*The Magi offer Frankincense, used in ritual and prayer to indicate the presence of God
*The Magi offer myrrh, an oil used at the time of death as well as for anointing priests.

By their gifts, the wise men reveal the identity of this child:

*the king before whom nations will bow down
*the anointed high priest of God
*and the suffering servant who will die for the ones he has come to serve

Christmas Program and Brunch

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For the past several weeks the children, youth and adults of MLLC have been preparing our annual Christmas Program.  Above is a photo of several of these young people rehearsing for this special event.

Children’s Christmas Program and Brunch – Sunday, December 13

Worship and Program in Sanctuary – at 9:00 a.m.

Christmas Brunch in Fellowship Hall – All Invited – at 10:15 a.m.

Join us for the fun and fellowship of our Annual Children’s Christmas Program and Brunch.  Everybody is invited to both the worship service with program, and the brunch in the fellowship hall.  This event is not just for the kids and the their families.  In the past few years we have offered this special event we have had a great attendance by people of all ages and situations.  With joy we invite you to join us on this very special Sunday.

 

 

Carmine Christmas Festival – December 6

Carmine Hall SignThe Carmine Community is pulling together for our annual Christmas Festival.  We will gather at the Carmine Hall (300 N. Hauptstrasse in Carmine) on Sunday, December 6.

We will enjoy food, craft booths, local music, visits with Santa, and much more.  The theme will be a Dickens Christmas.

Click this link for this flier for more complete information.

Please share this information with others on social media, email, or in print so more folks can enjoy this delightful annual tradition.

Christmas Boxes for Seafarers 2015

Christmas Boxes 2014 out front

Photo:  Pastor David Tinker and his son delivering the boxes last year at the Port of Houston.

Christmas Boxes for Port of Houston Seafarers 2015

We invite you to participate in this caring ministry of MLLC.  The Lutheran Men in Mission of MLLC will again prepare the Christmas Boxes of Port of Houston Seafarers. This is a ministry which brings cheer, God’s love, and practical gifts to people from around the world who must be away from family at Christmas. Between now and Thanksgiving weekend 2015 we invite you to collect items for the Men in Mission to pack for the seafarers. A collection station for these items will be set up during September. Last year there were 34 boxes assembled. Here is the address to our web page article about last year’s efforts: https://mllccarmine.com/2014/12/07/christmas-boxes-for-houston-seafarers/

The men on the ships truly appreciate the love and hospitality offered by these Christmas Boxes. Think about your life. Most of us get to be home every night with family and/or near friendly neighbors. Those who work in shipping are away from home for months at a time. They are thankful for the work, but they miss their families, friends and home communities.

The Port of Houston Chaplains are our ambassadors to these seafarers. They visit the ships and bring the boxes to the crews. On their web site the chaplains tell us: “Crew sizes vary between 8 and 30, with an average number of 22 seafarers to gift per ship. In 2014, we placed 11,392 gifts on board 512 ships which had seafarers from 69 different countries! These gifts had been donated to the seafarers by 223 churches and organizations! The Christmas boxes are personally carried to each ship by your staff of Port Chaplains.” Their web site is: http://www.venturecd.net/SeafarersCenter.org/Home_Page.htm

With our work together at MLLC we can help reach even more with the love of Jesus Christ.

Here is the official notice about this program from the Port of Houston Chaplains.  Click this link.

Please gather items such as these for the men on the ships:
Empty shoe boxes or purchased plastic shoe boxes to pack the items.
Address books
Band-aids (fabric)
Baseball caps
2016 Calendars
Comb
Dental Floss
Antiperspirant/deodorant
Disposable razors
Flashlight and batteries
Kleenex – small packs
Lip balm
Lotion
Nail clippers
Gold Bond cream
Gold Bond powder
Hot Chocolate (individual serving size)
Needles and thread
Q-tips
Shaving cream
Soap
Shampoo
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Gum and hard candy
Key chains
Pocket-sized notebooks
Mechanical pencils
Pens
Playing cards
Microwave popcorn
Socks
Sudoku books
Texas souvenirs
T-shirts
USB flash drives
Word search books

Presiding Bishop’s 2014 Christmas Message

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We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  We are led by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.  It is an annual tradition that our presiding bishop presents a Christmas Message of some sort.  This year it was a video message which connects the manger of Jesus to the cross of Jesus.  Click here for the link to this video.