Monday, January 06, 2014

Matthew 2:1-12

Year A - Epiphany - Guiding Gift
January 6, 2014

Context: Herod. Enough said. Too much expected.

Time: After Jesus was born. 

Scene: Foreigners come asking after a new born king.

As might be expected, things are changing and staying the same. Herod will remain tricky and murderous. Wisdom isn’t all its cracked up to be when it comes to dealing with political power.

If your memory lingers from last week, you will know this story is not just about a baby Jesus, but about all the Herod-murdered babies after these magi don’t report back to him. If we don’t remember these innocents while sweetly camel-rocking as we sing “We Three Kings” we will have lost an important component of the story.

The first time around we might be surprised, but now, whether told in scriptural order or liturgical order, announcements of great joy carry with them the eventuality of a stone-cold tomb. Hopefully the joy will lead folks to live for the common good even if that means difficulty on the way or even if it is delayed to a future generation.

There are a lot of ways to talk about the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but we will do well to remember the fourth gift. This gift, too comes out of their treasure chest. A treasure chest of spiritual practice of attending to mystery—stars and dreams. Their fourth gift was listening to dreams.

No matter the amount of gold, frankincense, or myrrh that you have available to you to give away, you have an immense amount of attention that can be directed to the mysterious realm of “What’s next” and not just fated to do the expected.

On this Epiphany, dream strong dreams, believe them, and all will be well (whether you can tell it in the moment or not).

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