When I think of Epiphany, I think of many things. I think of inclusion, of dreams and of the nature of the Kingdom and our salvation. I think of an urgent revelation that radically changes the direction of travel for those who truly encounter the divine. I think of big picture, I think of small acts, I think of worldly powers frustrated. I think of mystery and magick, of majesty and mercy, of meaning and metaphor.
That three foreign magick users are included in Matthew’s nativity narrative confounds much narrow and exclusionary theology. That they are welcomed, that their gifts display prophetic insight, that God’s intent in sending a dream is to save them as much as “the holy family” – these things give me a hope that God’s plan for this world is so much wider than some of my fellow disciples would have us believe and shows me how deep, wide and expansive God’s Grace and welcome really is.
Embracing wise women and men from traditions other than our own is not only part of our Christian Story, but part of Jesus mission to bring the reign of His Kingdom to this world. Embracing Wisdom and knowledge from outside of our own narrow sphere, seeing the seeds of God’s heart in the stories of other cultures and faith traditions than our own and acknowledging that our narrow interpretation of ancient texts does not hold a monopoly on how we can interact with God – these are the lessons of the visit of the Magi to the “shithole” that the God of the universe was born into.
So when a “Magi” comes to you with Wisdom, or a gift, or a word from God, please don’t exclude them, or push them away or belittle their message or person because of their skin colour, culture, sexuality, gender, theological difference or faith, because that’s Gold you’re leaving in the straw. It’s Frankincense and Myrrh that you’re chucking on the floor and trampling on. It’s people in the image of God you are leaving out in the street. And it’s the message for you to get out of Bethlehem and run for your lives that you’re not listening to. Just because it’s not “Sola Scriptura”?! Pfft!!
Ask them in, listen to their stories, consider their Wisdom, ponder their dreams. And give them a cup of tea and ask how you can involve them in bringing God’s Kingdom here – heck, ask them how you can be part of their efforts to bring God’s Kingdom here; how to bring good news to the poor and marginalised; how to proclaim freedom for the prisoners,recovery of sight for the blind and how to set the oppressed free. Together. Everyone.