Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
“Naturally we would prefer seven epiphanies a day and an earth not so apparently devoid of angels.” – Jim Harrison
Let us get right to the heart of things. This is not story telling just for entertainment. What is the message of this tale of three kings from the orient, following a star, visiting and worshipping the baby Jesus, bringing him gifts? The hint is that they were from the East. They are not Jews. The message is that Jesus, his message, and his salvation, is manifested (the word epiphany means manifestation) to all people regardless of origins or nationality. Today’s feast declares an end to the idea of national or personal exclusive gods. These gods may range anywhere from Ares (Greek god of war) to the god of thoughtless patriotism to the god of stockpiled money. Jesus is universal. He brings an end to personally possessed gods. We cannot even personally possess Jesus. He is not anyone’s personal savior. He is manifested, epiphanied to everyone. These three guys were not actually kings (see Greek below). They were star gazers. They were star trekkers. They were barrier breakers, shattering false ethnic fences. This story is not simply for entertainment. It is a challenge for us. If Jesus can be for anyone, regardless of who they are, or where they are from, can we? Jesus is the light of the whole world. Can we be a light for those different from us? Of course we are slow in that, dim to others. But we can still have seven epiphanies a day. We only need be observant and notice that we are not devoid of angels.
In the Greek Jesus’ three visitors are called magoi or magi. Most English versions of the bible translate the word as “wise men” and a few transliterate it simply as “magi.” The word comes from Persian meaning “great.” These men from the East were trained in astrology and dream interpretation. They were not astronomers in modern sense of the word. Astrology is the study of the positions of stars to determine meaning in human events. Magi were sometimes referred to as magicians (note “magi” as part of that word) or sorcerers.
Star bright, light to all,
come guide us to God for all.
Shine now we for all.