Reflections on the Readings for Sunday 6 January 2013
Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew2:1-12
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a wild star could appear for us as it did for the Magi, and show us the way to journey into 2013? Even they needed a bit more than the star; they needed to ask in Jerusalem and be told of the prophecy of Micah and be guided in a dream. Their naivety about the situation in Jerusalem spelt death for many innocents. But they did get to see the child and to present their gifts, and to play their part in the Christmas pageant.
The Magi at the crib represent the inclusion of the outsiders in the people of God. In the words of Paul, those who were formerly excluded are now “coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus.” They remind us that we can expect God to consistently undermine the safe and convenient barriers we like to draw between ourselves and the ‘other’. The peace and justice that God-with-us brings is uncomfortable for the comfortable.
I tend to think of the Magi disappearing into the ‘happily ever after’. But T.S. Eliot’s poem The Journey of the Magi focuses on the disquieting and disruptive nature of the journey for them. Life could never be the same again. The birth of this child is the death of the old ways. This child changes everything.