Posts Tagged ‘Magi’


First off, I am thankful to be able to put these thoughts together. Scheduler allowed thoughts throughout the 12 days of Christmas season (in traditional liturgical churches the only time Christmas carols are sung), which was rather chaotic with neuro-events and flashbacks. So today even though we did not make it out to celebrate Epiphany Sunday in the west or Christmas in the East, I did want to pass on a few thoughts.

As you read the main Gospel reading (the other 3 readings are after the post ends, so you can bring all four together to tease out themes if you want). Take time to bring different lens than the normal western church. As noted our house will begin hosting an exploration of the Qur’an.  While doing some reading (another blessing after about 4 days of not being able to focus to read) I was reminded of how that sacred text can be misunderstood because we do not read it in the light of the contrast style of writing.

Perhaps this is one way to approach the Epiphany for new discovery for your own journey. Read the text through the lens of contrast what new insights come through.

Matthew 2:1-12
2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 

2:2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 

2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 

2:4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 

2:5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 

2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” 

2:7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 

2:8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 

2:9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

2:10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 

2:11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

The other, is the way of Eastern Orthodox theological dialogue I discovered when serving in Anglicanism. It is the trinity dialogue, where you enter discussion on a topic with a party, but it is written to that party about the dialogue held with another. Taking this lens, with the understanding that the term Gospel in the time of the Roman Empire was a political statement. Read into the text the dialogue of the Magi and Herod about those in poverty, and realize it is with the believer decades removed, or the Empire overseeing. What message is being sent to both parties. Reflect on these messages.

As you spend time reflecting on this Epiphany discourse, what epiphany has come into your journey?

What is your epiphany for your life journey in 2018?

 

-Make your own little corner of the world a better place-

Dream no little dreams.

-Pastor Tommy Douglas

Rest of Lectionary for today:

Isaiah 60:1-6
60:1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

60:2 For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.

60:3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

60:4 Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.

60:5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

60:6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
72:1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.

72:2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.

72:3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.

72:4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.

72:5 May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.

72:6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.

72:7 In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

72:10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.

72:11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.

72:12 For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.

72:13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.

72:14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.

Ephesians 3:1-12
3:1 This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–

3:2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you,

3:3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words,

3:4 a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ.

3:5 In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:

3:6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

3:7 Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power.

3:8 Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ,

3:9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;

3:10 so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

3:12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him

From: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=106

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In the journey of the Magi is the metaphor of gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) that of the things needed for new life, and to honour the life lived at the end. But there is also the story of the journey from the East to the creche. Ancient wisdom for a modern world, or as my Bible College profs would spout on about—post-modernity.

For today, I simply bring a gift of a piece of my journey. Our journey of exploration with the Universal Church of the Master Alberta’s book study of the Aquarian Gospel. A new age imagining of the Jesus story from nativity through childhood-young adulthood-ministry-lynching-resurrection. It shows the influence of the spirituality of the world upon the growing Brother Jesus. There are moments you can see shamanic traditions, earth-pagan teachings, Eastern Philosophies, the Chakras, Judaic teachings, and the convalescing together into the gospel proclamation that would inevitably lead to Brother Jesus being executed by the oppressive powers. Yet the Cosmic Christ birthed out of that instance that continues to breathe new life. So below is a link to the text, and one to some reflections of my own:

Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

My own Aquarian reflections

Now I did say there was no looking back, and this not looking back, for January 9, 2018 the group continues in its discovery of teachings from our neighbours by exploring the Qu’ran.  So watch for those reflections to come.

What will you choose to learn from your neighbour today?


It is amazing how an equitable and just community built upon the creation of equality found in Genesis 1 would become an empire of patriarchal oppression. Yet it is the story that happened. Constantine declares he had a vision to conquer under the cross. It was the cross that eliminated the pantheon and transformed the religion of the oppressed into the Empire’s rallying cry around 324 CE. It was also a rallying cry that stripped away many of the traditions, stories and mystics of the time for one that fit Constantine’s Empire narrative. Much was lost. Then came the great schism in 1054 CE between Eastern and Western, and more was shed to fit the surviving narratives on either side of the divide. And the narrative continues through the Crusades, the Reformation, Enlightenment, Restoration, Monastic renewals, Charismatic, New Thought/Metaphysic, Mormon and so on and so forth. Each stripping away narratives that spoke of the inherent equality of the movement.
Each that warned of a world to come if we allowed the power of the money, the power of politic to usurp the dignity of the neighbour, the person we are and the person next to us. Some of these narratives survived but so buried under the mistake of “unworthiness” needing to be saved in the “blood sacrifice” that the narrative of inclusion, love and belonging was lost. Even so much as to strip away the power of the Mary story, by usurping it by the Joseph story, and the God story. Making Mary a secondary or even tertiary voice in control of her own body.
This was not the intent of the sacred story.

Yet there are examples of warning, of other stories literally stripped from “Canon” depending on which movement branch of the tree of the Christianities you belong to. Here is one example within the Deutero-canonical tradition-the story of Susanna:

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1 There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim:
2 And he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord.
3 Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.
4 Now Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honourable than all others.
5 The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness came from Babylon from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the people.
6 These kept much at Joacim’s house: and all that had any suits in law came unto them.
7 Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into her husband’s garden to walk.
8 And the two elders saw her going in every day, and walking; so that their lust was inflamed toward her.
9 And they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments.
10 And albeit they both were wounded with her love, yet durst not one shew another his grief.
11 For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they desired to have to do with her.
12 Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see her.
13 And the one said to the other, Let us now go home: for it is dinner time.
14 So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and after that they had asked one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: then appointed they a time both together, when they might find her alone.
15 And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as before with two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself in the garden: for it was hot.
16 And there was no body there save the two elders, that had hid themselves, and watched her.
17 Then she said to her maids, Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the garden doors, that I may wash me.
18 And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and went out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she had commanded them: but they saw not the elders, because they were hid.
19 Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up, and ran unto her, saying,
20 Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man can see us, and we are in love with thee; therefore consent unto us, and lie with us.
21 If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee.
22 Then Susanna sighed, and said, I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not I cannot escape your hands.
23 It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not do it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
24 With that Susanna cried with a loud voice: and the two elders cried out against her.
25 Then ran the one, and opened the garden door.
26 So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the garden, they rushed in at the privy door, to see what was done unto her.
27 But when the elders had declared their matter, the servants were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report made of Susanna.
28 And it came to pass the next day, when the people were assembled to her husband Joacim, the two elders came also full of mischievous imagination against Susanna to put her to death;
29 And said before the people, Send for Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, Joacim’s wife. And so they sent.
30 So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all her kindred.
31 Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to behold.
32 And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face, (for she was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty.
33 Therefore her friends and all that saw her wept.
34 Then the two elders stood up in the midst of the people, and laid their hands upon her head.
35 And she weeping looked up toward heaven: for her heart trusted in the Lord.
36 And the elders said, As we walked in the garden alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the garden doors, and sent the maids away.
37 Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay with her.
38 Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this wickedness, ran unto them.
39 And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold: for he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out.
40 But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: these things do we testify.
41 Then the assembly believed them as those that were the elders and judges of the people: so they condemned her to death.
42 Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, O everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and knowest all things before they be:
43 Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me, and, behold, I must die; whereas I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented against me.
44 And the Lord heard her voice.
45 Therefore when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young youth whose name was Daniel:
46 Who cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman.
47 Then all the people turned them toward him, and said, What mean these words that thou hast spoken?
48 So he standing in the midst of them said, Are ye such fools, ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel?
49 Return again to the place of judgment: for they have borne false witness against her.
50 Wherefore all the people turned again in haste, and the elders said unto him, Come, sit down among us, and shew it us, seeing God hath given thee the honour of an elder.
51 Then said Daniel unto them, Put these two aside one far from another, and I will examine them.
52 So when they were put asunder one from another, he called one of them, and said unto him, O thou that art waxen old in wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light.
53 For thou hast pronounced false judgment and hast condemned the innocent and hast let the guilty go free; albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay.
54 Now then, if thou hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree sawest thou them companying together? Who answered, Under a mastick tree.
55 And Daniel said, Very well; thou hast lied against thine own head; for even now the angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two.
56 So he put him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and said unto him, O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart.
57 Thus have ye dealt with the daughters of Israel, and they for fear companied with you: but the daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness.
58 Now therefore tell me, Under what tree didst thou take them companying together? Who answered, Under an holm tree.
59 Then said Daniel unto him, Well; thou hast also lied against thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth with the sword to cut thee in two, that he may destroy you.
60 With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and praised God, who saveth them that trust in him.
61 And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth:
62 And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the same day.
63 Therefore Chelcias and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joacim her husband, and all the kindred, because there was no dishonesty found in her.
64 From that day forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the sight of the people.

Notice a parallel in the Jian Ghomeshi or Harvey Weinstein story of today?

I challenge you to spend time with this parable. Break it down like one would in English class. Take it through the plot diagram of preamble, inciting incident, rising action, climax, denouement (falling action) and resolution. Then break down who is the protagonist (hero), antagonist (villain and other challenges the hero faces); supporting cast. Then challenge your world view, what would happen if you flipped the antagonist and protagonist? For we must understand that which we are against. Do this in community and alone. Then each take one of the outlines and re-write the text in 21st century of the community you exist in today (community league, religious gathering, etc.)…

What light has the story of Susanna shed on love for self and love for neighbour in the heart of the Holy?


The Christmas season liturgically is 12 days that bring us to what is colloquially known as “Ukrainian Christmas” in January. It is one of the calendar discerning points between Orthodox and Roman Christianities (and the Protestant Christianities that spun out of the Roman Church). Liturgically this is the journey of what is commonly called the wise men, or like the old hymn, “We three kings”. Better translated the Magi, or magicians. The astrologers, the elder wisdom of the East brought to a creche in a manger in Jerusalem.

It is the story as brought to life in the writings of St. Matthew. Who is believed in tradition to be the tax collector Levi re-named Matthew (which means gift from God) by brother Jesus in his 3-year ministry before lynching by the powers that be. Written for an audience of Judea to understand the different Messiah. Not zealots but those open to the Kingdom idea of the way shown by Jesus. For even the traditions it is wrapped in, lay out a new path. Shattering of patriarchy control by listing women in the genealogy.

And showing the seditionist nature of the Herod family is seeking power even it means inflicting harm upon their own people. The Herod family maintained power as the puppet royals of Israel, much the way munitions manufacturers have made their billions and trillions in commerce—selling/working on both sides. That way guess what happens with whomever wins? You are in favour.

This is Herod that the Magi come to:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and 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.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5”In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel’.”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you have found him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

-Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12

 

 

Think about it. Herod would lead a scourge and genocide of the masses. Their first born to silence an idea being born into the world that we are each others’ brothers and sisters. We are in this together. Together a new world can be birthed. Together society can be just. Together we can dream no little dream, but one where love rules.

This is where the Magi showed wisdom in not succumbing to the money, the power and/or the prestige that was Herod. They stood in their beliefs. They did not sell out what they held to be true to appease the money.

How often in our world have we created situations where money/power run roughshod over our beliefs? In employment? Church (me thinks annual general meetings and tithing?)…but even more, as we must remember the Gospel story is a declaration of political intent. Caesar used gospels to proclaim his program for the Empire. So the apostles/disciples were doing the same in proclaiming their gospel of Brother Jesus.

What more needs to be looked at? A story where governance exercises its power not to the benefit of the citizen but the detriment. In Canada we have worked hard to build a just society, yet ideological entrenchment over the past few decades has shook this for we cannot look for what is best for citizens, but are lost in the loop of attack/defend our ideologies. What happens in the interim?

As a nation of just about 34 million we cannot move into our constitution to discuss a new division of power that would allow for a stronger public health and public education system than the one now that has these resting in smaller provinces that moving them up to the federal level for a use of the buying clout of the federation as a whole.

It means smoke and mirrors so each ideology has used Employment Insurance as a surplus way to find monies, instead of being available to those who need it with ease. Y’know the unemployed and those who are on medical leave from work in an expeditated fashion before debt creates an untenable situation.

It is in the province of Alberta bureaucracies designed for AISH (Assured Income for the Severally Handicapped) and PDD that are designed to cull the lists, and protect expenditures on what is available by not using transparency so the least of these live within poverty or not even being able to qualify because the bureaucracy has a “prove you deserve this” mentality that goes beyond confirmation by doctors and specialists.

The same can be said Federally to the CPP-Disability plan.

And lets not forget fighting against the Protestant myth of the deserving poor used by Neo-Cons to strip Alberta Works (Social Services) from being proactive, to being in a state where it is hard to grow out of the poverty cycle you are in once on it.

Yet ideologies argue between the left and the right instead of the constitutional guarantee of Peace, Order and Good Governance. We argue over issues that can be summed up by sound bytes of 140 characters, not understanding that for every bill, for every tax there is a ripple effect in the pond we exist within.  Ideological wars that weary the citizen to a point of apathy that nothing can change so why fight the system, let dark money take root, don’t show up to vote, because no party will be better than any other.

Disengagement due to disgruntlement due to government putting corporate profits over citizen well-being.

Hmmm…or Herod putting his gold coffers over those of his people.

Rome putting absolute power, and taking care of the wealthy class over the masses.

And the Magi know where the baby is, that brings the message of transformative love, and they must make a choice. Will they give in to apathy as nothing will change and tell Herod? Or will they believe the pablum because the last bill took care of their class because they are not the “label” currently being ignored or not Twitter sexy?

No.

They chose to go accomplish what they must, and not serve up their neighbour to death at the hands of ideological madness. For their wisdom was simple and shown in the gifts they brought.

            We are one in humanity. We are in this together from birth to death.

  As you journey with the Magi this season, how will you answer the question Herod in caring for your neighbour?

            Will you let apathy reign?

            Wealth control?

            Or love and care of neighbour win?


Ancient wisdom tradition has the teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes being Solomon. Solomon born out of the forced marriage of David and Bathsheba. The one allowed to build the Temple that God stopped David from due to blood on his hands. Many will read blood on his hands as due to the wars he fought. Yet what is truly blood on your hands? The shattering of the commandments. The use of office power to forcefully rape a woman, plot the murder of her husband through unneeded risk to your own army, then. The image I always loved as the ultimate outcome. The child conceived, in Kyle Baker’s graphic novel about the story of David, shows that the child di not simply not survive birth, rather in the continued rage of power corrupting his soul, David killed the child. Thus, trapping Bathsheba in the ultimate abuse cycle for a woman in a time with no rights.

It is a story played out sadly many times regardless of gender repeatedly throughout the generations. Yet it was Joseph in the line of David that Jesus came through. But think of the Nativity story. Joseph was attempting to be “holy” in his contemplation, much like his line had been about the time. But God was at work to show how things should be in relations between humans. God asked Mary for her consent, her yes for the plan. He then went to Joseph to see if he would be willing to do what is just even though it contravened his societal rules.

This is at the core of the poetry in Ecclesiastes. It is about showing how extremes can strip all of their vocation and voice, leaving us reduced to commodities. Solomon’s empire collapsed because he allowed ideology to take root that was too expansive seeking power, glory and fortune; his father lost his blessing because his took root in black and white.

We missed the brutal warning against misogyny, gentrification and dehumanization milleniums ago. We missed the challenge to embrace a new path 2000 years ago in a Nazareth’s girl yes. Will we continue to miss opportunities to create the world that was breathed into being were all were one and all were equal?

And we are here with the words from 3:1-11, that show the balance of life (and the Birds turned it into a hit song):

1There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8A right time for birth and another for death,

A right time to plant and another to reap,

A right time to kill and another to heal,

A right time to destroy and another to construct,

A right time to cry and another to laugh,

A right time to lament and another to cheer,

A right time to make love and another to abstain,

A right time to embrace and another to part,

A right time to search and another to count your losses,

A right time to hold on and another to let go,

A right time to rip out and another to mend,

A right time to shut up and another to speak up,

A right time to love and another to hate,

A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

The Message, 3:1-13

 Something we have lost if one simply looks at the political landscape, and the life landscape. David’s are finally being exposed by their Bathsheba’s yet we are losing the voices of other victims. We are not seeing the full scope, because we are taking a pendulum swing to the extreme. The church swings to include LGBTTQ2+ but ignores those whom are differently abled…they may embrace women at certain points of clergy or at all points…yet then stumbles on some other sacramental non-sense. Society says all are welcome, then beats their drum for war saying they do not know how to stop radicalization yet the cure is in belonging same as any fringe group from cults to gangs that take in the one left outside.

magi1

There is a time for healing. Our world struggles with catastrophe of addictions and as lives are lost we argue harm reduction versus abstinence, not realizing the answer resonates in the person and can be both.

We yearn for home. But create barriers for belonging for all. Use our religious texts to lie about poverty being a result of sin or falling short, and not realizing it, like addiction, is a symptom of the roots being shallow and dying.

We love our labels for it can make us feel superior, for we are not them or the other. Yet simply by creating the liberal wherever you say you exist on the spectrum of left-right you have created an us-them paradigm that leads to destruction.

For in each of us a season exists. And where the season leads that is the gift is to the one where the only label that exists is part of the family. For we are, each of us, human. Born of humans. The simplest message God tried to get through the darkness wreaked over generations from David to Joseph with Mary’s simple decision. She upset the world of her tiny village and made the bravest choice possible knowing she could lose all.

Yet her Y-E-S is the season we are in that encompasses the pendulum swings. For it is the eternal gift found in ancient poetry represented by one simple word in English- AND. We abide in the AND by joining Mary’s yes in allowing seasons to exist and realizing communally and individually the answers are not always definitive, but when we are interdependent and without labels our world is better.

magi2

            As we journey as the Magi in this Christmas Season (12 days) what gifts are you bringing to the creche? What season are you bridging and choosing to be in the AND? What YES awaits in your heart?


38 years old is the book. Amazing isn’t it in this throw away society that something has endured and lasted through childhood, multiple uses in ministry from churches to streets to outreaches…to quiet nights on Christmas Eve with my own children. A pop up book back when Hallmark published such things, given to me by my Nan and Granddad to commemorate my first Christmas a scants 4ish months since birth, and 2ish months since the Christening into the Anglican tradition, within the Roman Catholic School gym (shamrock backboard and all).

Yet it is the story that endures and matters. Many argue the historicity of it. Did it actually happen? Was their a Virgin birth? Did it happen on Christmas Day? What about the Pagan Solstice?

Yet in simply sitting with my family this Christmas eve, no spiritual home to say, and reading the story of the family travelling at the darkest time of year seeking shelter. Dark times? The Solstice tells us this is the darkest time of year. The extra burden wrought by taxes that do not take not even affordability, but survival into account (no comment to Carbon Tax I promise)…that was the oppression of the Roman Empire where Joseph and Mary, and their people were viewed as a number, as commodities (ringing any familiarity yet?) to be used and abused.

Mary steps out of the commodification of her gender within her oppression by Rome and Religious Israel, to claim her yes in power to the Holy Mystery to bear his child. Where did this child come from? Some say a Virgin birth, some say another oppression by a Roman soldier using his property, much like David used Bathsheba, what we today call Rape, or a genocidal practice…yet Mary was the one asked whether or not she would keep it, would choose life in herself and for her baby and was blessed.

Yet that was not the end of the story, for Joseph also had to choose life. He had to choose to keep his betrothed (purchased) property and the child that was not his. He had 3 options, become the town joke by choosing and create their own outcast ways, cast Mary outside the city gates like other sex trafficked women to her death with child, or have her stoned to death.

Mary’s yes resounded to a mystical moment for Joseph to choose his own yes.

Yet this is not the end of the mysticism of the story as societal constructs of oppression are thrown off. For we are in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas. Yes it is more than a song, and I am sure the Google can reveal the Christian imagery revealed in the lyrics, but it is the 12 days that high liturgical churches embrace as a way of bringing the two nativities together.

For Luke gives us the call out to the other cast outs and oppressed imaged by the shepherds to come to the birth. Yet in Matthew, the universal Love that is the Holy Mystery, is told of the Magi who use means of magic, astrology and astronomy to track this effect in the sky of a bright light in the darkness to come and show love.  For the gifts brought would definitely be of benefit 30 years on when Jesus would leave being a general labourer and set forth to live transformational love in the world.

Yet it is the journey of the Magi, and their decision to not let Herod know what they knew about the source, Love incarnate in the manger, this is the source for the festival time Christendom finds themselves in now. The 12 Days of Christmas between the birth and the arrival of the Magi…or between the Protestant-Catholic Christmas and the Orthodox Christmas..

The universal story of these 12 days resonates outward everywhere, for it is not about creeds or bibles or buildings…it is something more incarnate.

These 12 days it is about the spiritual journey to the centre. It is about the journey home. For it is the Magi journeying into love, and then out of love and letting that light live to transform the world.

As I read the pop up book this year to my children, these are the thoughts that came out of my heart. The journey of love has not changed for anyone in our household. The journey into and out of love and letting it shine, is a moment by moment occurrence for each of us.The symbolism of the rite and song are not lost either as we continue the journey to home.

So in these 12 days, and beyond, what is your choice of love and home mean to you?


It is a season in the church calendar, noted by the colour green for new life.  I know totally awesome explanation, it happens between the end of the 12 days of Christmas festival and the beginning of Lent. But truly what is Epiphany about?

Each year I sit in church and ponder what is the discovery of new life. The revelation of the divinity of Christ which is given to us through the Gift of the Holy Spirit. This is a time not only to reflect on the visit of the Magi to the Holy Family, but also to reflect on the living faith in ourselves and others. Whether your tradition terms them Saints, Martyrs, or Heroes of the Faith their story (or testimony) is what reflects how Christ manifested (Epiphany) within their souls, and lives.

This struck home this Sunday for me, as my new home church (Crossroads Community Church) brought in the Acting up Drama Presentation on the life of Corrie Ten Boom…a powerful story of the ordinary people God call’s to do extraordinary things.

Over the years on Epiphany I have spent time reflecting on the Magi visitation, but what if a better tradition for the church now is experiencing those of history, recent church history, that have had the miracles of God (miracles that we say do not happen anymore) manifested in their own lives? And use this season of Epiphany to disciple followers to bear witness to the miralces in their own lives and how to share their stories in impactful ways (possibly the use of social media like blogs, vlogs, twitter, facebook, etc)…a new way to share the story of God with his children, and God’s children with her?

How appropriate that this season sees my church family offering their community meal this week…living life through the ordinary into the extraordinary…crafting our story for the now.