It might have been just someone else’s story…
A sweet memory of last year was the chance to gather with some of you a few times to watch through and reflect on Season 1 of the acclaimed TV series, The Chosen. There are many things that make the series worth watching thoughtfully, but one of the things I found most striking was how particular the Jesus movement was at its outset– culturally, religiously, geographically.
It is hard not to marvel that this deeply Jewish man and his band of followers, roaming around the utter fringes of “civilization” at that time, ever had anything to say to me– a full-blooded Gentile living two-thousand years later in the very heart of “civilization” as we know it today. What a wonder that I, too, am chosen by this Jesus (and you, too), that I get to become part of that story, which had for centuries been confined to one people among many.
This is the miracle we get to explore during the season of Epiphany. The arrival of the magi to greet and honor baby Jesus in Bethlehem has come to typify God’s surprising, gracious choice to bless “all the families of the earth” through his covenant people (Gen 12:1-3). To help us experience this blessing, I encourage you to read through the biblical account of the magi in Matthew 2 and then to ponder the two poems below.
The first, from Malcolm Guite’s marvelous book Sounding the Seasons, takes a wide view of the wise men’s journey to Jesus and helps us apply the deeper wisdom embedded in their story. The second, by poet and hymnist Kate Compston, is far more personal and introspective. It invites us to “walk in the shoes” of the magi as they pursue this mysterious star and grapple with how their quest will fundamentally change who they are.
As we always recommend when we share poetry– we hope you will find a space where you can read these slowly, out loud, and more than once. I pray they will deepen your appreciation for the Story of which we are (miraculously) a part!
Image: “The Adoration of the Magi” by Edward Burne-Jones, 1904