Scene 2: The Empire Calls for a Census; Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem Our Savior’s Lutheran Church — 4831 Grand Avenue Enter in from Grand Ave and stay to the left near Faith Haven Apartments. Then turn to enter the church’s lot and travel from the office door entrance moving through the display towards Grand Ave.
Scripture Luke 2:1-5 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
Artists’ Statement Our display highlights the travel this family was forced to make because their homeland was occupied by the Roman Empire. This would have meant a very pregnant Mary had to walk (or ride) around 70-90 miles. That would be like walking from here to Tofte! Their journey calls to mind all those who are forced to travel today. Some flee abuse in their homes and aren’t sure if they will find a safer place. Some flee violence in their nation and hope to find refuge. Some travel in hopes of opportunities that will provide for themselves and their loved ones. Remembering that it was our Lord’s family who was also on the move grows our compassion and turns our hearts and actions towards those who are forced to move today. The image of a pregnant mother and her betrothed alone on the road highlights their vulnerability and powerlessness under the empire. We do not live under foreign rule, as Mary and Joseph did. We have the power to shape the policies of our nation towards care for those who are most vulnerable. This season, we not only honor Jesus through our decorations and celebrations, but with our active work for the well-being of all God’s creation.
Prayer God, with these decorative lights, we remember that you brighten our paths. Give us courage in whatever difficult journeys we may be on right now. Travel alongside us. We remember that you illuminate all that is hidden in shadow. Help us to see those who are most vulnerable, to recognize their humanity, and honor them as your beloved ones. Shine through our works of compassion, generosity, advocacy, and love. Amen.
Connect with Our Savior’s Worship is premiered on Facebook at 10:15am Sundays and available afterwards also on YouTube and oursaviorsduluth.org We celebrate Christmas with a special online anytime Christmas Eve service on Dec 24 and a live 4:30pm Zoom Christmas Prayer & Communion service. Website: oursaviorsduluth.org Find us on Facebook: Our Savior’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Find us on YouTube: Our Savior’s Lutheran Duluth
Many thanks to all who helped make this project possible: Rick Benson, Sherm Carlson, Karl Isakson, Deb Jacobson, Robert Jenko, Heather, Brian, & Maddie Lilliberg, Bill, Dave Thornton, Pastor Liz and Laila Davis