December 26, 2009

We Three Kings of Orient Are

The quest of the Magi: " who having heard the king, went their way. And behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." --Mathew 2:9-10

We Three Kings of Orient Are

We three kings of Orient are

Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light...
Are we not often questing, looking for something, even if we don't think carefully about it? Observing daily rhythms, noticing what brings us our centered, peaceful feelings; often it is in the process, the search or quest that we find ourselves, in simple absorption of the task. The bible story tells us that the star itself moved! Astounding if so, valuable as a symbol; it has the possibility to inspire and guide us in our daily coming and going.

One other thing: did you, like me, perhaps think the Magi were wise, noble men?
They came from the East. Were they Zoroastrians, were they Kings? What about astronomy as told in the story? The ancients of biblical times celebrated the astral glories as creations of G-d; in these glories were all others, like the glory of creation, of man himself. The response to such a moment was awe and delight. In the Book of Job, astronomy does make a pronounced appearance. But no clear or distinct identity of the Magi is given in the Torah or in the later stories of the christian bible.
And despite their obscure, true identity, their act of worship, of reverence to a new life, a small, undistinguished child,  marks them as both humble and simple; both great and wise. We follow then, that star still.

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