Sunday, January 07, 2007

Where Have All the Wise men Gone?

Advent of the Magi

Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Matthew 2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

There are two parts of this Epiphany story that have always fascinated me. Firstly, the wise men in the story get lost – which shouldn’t surprise anyone, for when do men ask for directions? They end up in the wrong town because they lost the Star. God’s GPS broke down, but why? Was it too cloudy? Did they argue when it by-passed Jerusalem? Did they miscalculate, or did the sky seem different when they reached a new time zone?

Whatever the cause, at one point they were on the right path, and then they suddenly end up in front of Herod. It seems as though they were more enamored about short-cutting and completing their mission, instead of faithfully following the Star. It’s so easy to get lost when our zeal and ambition take over. We end up taking quick ways and making the wrong moves.

Take President Ford’s funeral for an example. The clergy leader read the Gospel passage from John 14:1-6, but he stopped halfway through the last verse. He read out “Jesus replied, “I am the Way, Truth, and Life,” but purposely left out the words “No one comes to the Father except by me.” In other words, he abbreviated the message, took a theological short cut, and missed the whole point of the verse – that no one comes to God without Jesus.

But the other part of the story of the Magi that fascinates me happens when they are told in a dream not to go back the way in which they came. In other words, once you meet and find Jesus, you can’t turn back. It’s a bit like that old song “I have decided to follow Jesus,” which ends each verse with “No turning back, no turning back.”

So, for 2007, will we be content on following the Star of our lives, Jesus Christ; or will we become distracted by our own vision and mission, only to lose our way to salvation? As always, the choice is ours.

Stushie is the writer of Heaven's Highway and Stushie's Stuff blogs. He also writes a weekly prayer service for Presbyterian's world wide, which you can now find his new Aaron's Beard blog.

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