In my Facebook memories yesterday, I found this post from ten years ago. It was ever thus, so for those of you who are wondering what to say about the Wise Ones this time around, I’ve gathered some links from our blogging community that might help.
First, it’s one of those unusual dates that find the Narrative Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary on the same text. Here at RevGals, we offered two views on the text.
Shannon Meacham wondered, “Why not, after learning of Herod’s evilness help the Holy Family escape, perhaps smuggling them into their own countries? Or use their political power to go to Rome and overthrow Herod? Why not create a ruse for Herod? Returning to him saying they never found the child or perhaps they were already gone by the time they got there? Why after all the time of following the star, traveling, reading of the prophecy and meeting God present on earth, slink away to save yourself from Herod? Yet, this is exactly what happens everyday.” Read her powerful challenge at Narrative Lectionary: Home By Another Way.
And Katy Stenta, reflecting on the RCL, writes, “Whether the magi come a few days after the birth of Jesus or when he was a toddler or preschooler, the magi are unique because they come after the fact. This gives me comfort, that perhaps its not too late to have an epiphany. Perhaps the window for learning and brilliant inspiration is not so tight as we would make it out to be.” Read more at RCL: Wandering Wisdom.
Rosalind Hughes also pushes on our comfort and offers examples, with what she didn’t write for the parish newsletter, in Epiphany: we need another way: “The Incarnation is not an excuse to look away. The coming and going of the Magi at Epiphany reminds us that after we have spent our moments lost in wonder at the Christmas Incarnation, the time comes to recognize the havoc that Herod still wreaks in the world and in the lives of the children of God and humanity.”
And Melissa Bane Sevier encourages us to Keep the light burning: “We cannot avoid, with all our public discussions in this country about refugees, that Jesus and his parents were, according to Matthew, refugees in a foreign land. They traveled by night, out of fear for their child’s safety, led by moonlight and by the lamp of determination to find a peaceful place to settle. Sent out from their own home by the darkness of tragedy and danger, they made a new home among strangers who spoke an unfamiliar language and practiced religions different from their own. Perhaps this experience helped make Jesus the kind of man he grew up to be—one who welcomed the poor, those different from him, and those at the margins, because that’s what he had lived as a child.
What realizations are dawning on you as we approach Epiphany? And what are you reading that you want to share with the rest of the RevGals? I welcome your thoughts in the comments.
Martha Spong is a United Church of Christ pastor, a clergy coach, and executive director of RevGalBlogPals. She is co-author of Denial is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith) with Rachel Hackenberg (Church Publishing, 2018), edited the RevGals’ book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths, 2015), and blogs at marthaspong.com.
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