Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY, 1936.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
“The star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.” The star was there for all in the east to see. Many must have seen it. But only three observed it. Only three considered it. The very word ‘consider’ is derived from the Latin word for star. Only three were prepared to follow it, for any distance, and at all costs. Only three were eager to find the King. All three were ready to fall down and worship Him, if only they might find Him. Each had a treasure to lay at His feet.
The Festival of the Epiphany brings so many points for meditation. In this letter I shall select one. I shall be writing as to one person, as though that person were the only person.
My first thought I find in the words “in the East.” It was the part of the world in which the Wise Men lived. It stands for the place where you live. It may be north, south, east or west. This does not matter. The thing that does matter is that it is the place which God has appointed or permitted for you. And because God has appointed or permitted you to be where you are, somewhere there, if you look for it, you will find your star. It is there for you to see. It is shining over the place where you are now.
The next point in this little meditation is in the words, “the Star which they saw in the East, went before them.” One day there came into your life something that made you think of God, as you never had before. Something that made you realize His presence in a strangely compelling way. You found yourself looking up toward Him. You became conscious of Him. And you could not forget. You had a new light. It was not above the brightness of the noon-day sun, such as Saint Paul saw. It was only a star. But it was your star. And it called you on. It called you in strange ways. You could not explain it to yourself. It was something you did not want to talk about. Yet it always went before you. Your desire to follow it was at times fitful, yet it was deepening. It made all the difference in the world in your life. It gave you something to live for. I know what I am writing about, when I write that this happens to every kind of person in every kind of place, in the most unlikely environments. The star that goes before is God’s gift to all who have eyes in their souls to see, and wills to follow.
The next point is in the words, “till it came and stood over where the young child was.” The star is only the sign. The Young Child is the reality. He is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, because He is God of God, Light of Light. Through circumstances and strange combinations of circumstances you grew into the knowledge of Him. You found Him at last. It demanded a long following of your star. It tested your loyalty, your devotion, your willingness for sacrifice. But when at last you saw the Young Child, you had something to offer to Him. Your loyalty had turned into gold; your devotion into frankincense; your sacrifice into myrrh.
Affectionately in Our Lord,