by Rev. David Hicks
Observing the rhythm of the liturgical church year is a powerful way to reflect deeply on the Christian journey. We are currently in the season of Epiphany which begins after the season of Christmas and ends on Ash Wednesday. One of the main stories associated with Epiphany is the visitation of the Magi to the Holy Family in Bethlehem.
We don’t know much about these “wise ones” but in many ways their journey becomes our journey, and it is a journey that is characterized by wondering and wandering which led them to Jesus. Their wondering kept them looking to the stars, pondering, reflecting, asking questions. And their wandering propelled them out on a journey beyond what was comfortable and established in order to experience what they had been wondering about for so long.
One of the reasons why I love the inclusion of the Magi story into Scripture is because their journey is out of the box. There is nothing usual or predictable or ordinary about it. These were pagan astrologers, from other parts of the world, speaking a different language. These were not orthodox men of the faith, they were not even Jewish, they probably didn’t even have a monotheistic view of God. Their customs were strange, their worldview was strange, how they came to be there was strange, everything about them was radically different from the young couple holding their young child. And yet, their journey eventually brought them to Jesus and their presence and their presents were welcomed and received by the Holy Family.
Our quest for God is often marked by the unpredictable and unordinary. We too are heading in a direction that is unclear and unforeseeable. And the journey is seldom smooth sailing. There is risk involved. There are dangers along the way. Our wondering may open up questions and reflections that some might say lie outside of that which is proper and acceptable. Our wandering may, to some, look like we are wandering away from faith when in all actually we are desperately trying to wander toward a deeper, more authentic faith. And so, we head out, because something is stirring within us, even though we may not yet be able to identify or articulate it. Hope and curiosity drives our wondering and our wandering.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn to accept and embrace our wondering and wandering as an expression of our own deep desire for greater intimacy with God? Wouldn’t it be great if we could accept and embrace the wondering and wandering of others without judgement or criticism, and without trying to hurry them along with the narrowness of our own pre-conceived ideas of what is best for them. Together being communities of wonderers and wanderers driven by and toward the expansive love, grace, and mercy of God. A place where both our presence and our presents are welcomed and accepted without fear or prejudice.
Bon voyage and happy trails!