Who Are These People?

Rev. Mark Schaefer
January 5, 2020—Epiphany Sunday
Isaiah 60:1–6; Matthew 2:1–12


Every comedian has a particular style, a particular way of speaking, and often a set of catch phrases that define their comedy.

From Jack Benny’s “Now, cut that out!” to George Burns’ “Say goodnight, Gracie” to Steve Martin’s “Excuuuuuse me!” to Rodney Dangerfield’s “I get no respect” to Larry the Cable Guy’s “Git ’er done!” to Bill Engvald’s “Here’s your sign” to George Carlin’s, well, George Carlin doesn’t really have a catch phrase and even if he did, I don’t think I could say it in church.

But then there is Jerry Seinfeld’s “Who are these people?” It’s a phrase so associated with Jerry Seinfeld that it’s kind of come to define his comedy, even if it’s hard to find a clip of him actually saying it.

But the line is used something like this: “Have you ever seen these people who put on the Star Wars costumes and wait in line all night for a movie ticket? Who are these people?” Whether or not Jerry used this as much as we remember him doing so, the phrase has come to represent the kind of sarcastic observational humor that he is known for.

“Have you ever seen people who drink grape juice instead of wine for communion? Who are these people?”

But there is a reason that that particular line has been in my head this week; and it’s because of the Gospel text we heard earlier.