Year C - Epiphany or Guiding Gift
January 6, 2016
Eden is probably far from the intent of this passage and yet there enough overtones to bring it back to mind.
The new Eden is Rome. What Rome calls into being is deemed right and good. Unfortunately light is not something Rome can generate, only extinguish through its power of death. Rome and every attempt at Empire is a greater disappointment than any Adam or Eve. A light rising from East of this New Eden comes shining to reveal the ultimate smallness of Herod and his backers. And so fear is revealed in the seeming solidity of power. No matter what the apparent wattage of a star, a candle, or a spotlight, it reveals the inconceivable—the little, the inconsequential, a hick town or an utterly dependent baby is at the center of a return to a creation-old partnership based on all differences reduced to joy, not competition (stand by for Ephesians and every “Gentile” group being sharers in the same promise).
With the Magi coming to pay homage to that which supersedes Rome, Eden is reestablished in the midst of an illusory New Eden. With the Magi comes the enacting of the Magnificat. With the Magi comes a calling out of the nakedness of the king, the emperor.
And so the New Eden responds in the old way of violence, whether state slaughtered children or an atonement theology slaughtered child.
The Magi help the mask of the New Eden to slip and slide away and be revealed for what it is, a great pretender.