Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Star Are You Following?

They started out long before they had any idea of where they were going or what they would find. They were astrologers, most likely -- scientists of the day who studied the stars and in this particular stellar alignment, they saw something new being foretold that had to do with a royal birth in the constellation specific to the House of Judah.  

So they set out to attend the birth of this new king, supposing (erroneously) that any royal birth would surely take place in the Judean palace of royalty…that of King Herod. It was not to be and their visit only provoked Herod’s own paranoia and anxiety. 

The Magi didn’t give up and return home, however. They had come much too far to give up now. They trusted that something was happening. Now they just had to figure out what that was because it clearly was something outside their normal expectations.

What they finally found, however, was God “on the loose” in a manger --- an animal food trough. Born just like any other baby to a young woman and the older man who accompanied her. God made manifest…plainly visible and achingly vulnerable.

Who knows what went through their minds as they arrived at this most unlikely venue for royalty. Perhaps they were more adept than most of us at recognizing the ways in which God will choose to be at work in the world through sometimes very strange and unexpected circumstances.

Perhaps in this season of Epiphany, we might consider the lessons these ancient astrologers offer us: faithful and persistent searching for the “Aha!” moments where God is at work. Trusting that God is showing up even if it is outside of our expectations. Bearing the gift of ourselves to the most unlikely places where we find the most unexpected need.

How many times, do we pass by God at work in our world just because it doesn’t look like we expect it to look? Doesn’t sound like we expect God to sound? Doesn’t behave the way we expect a Deity to behave. Of course, it is not a big stretch to realize that it is our own ideas of God that shape what we see, hear and expect. 
What if we, like these Magi of so long ago, were to suspend our own limited expectations and look, instead, for the unimaginable mystery, astonishing wonder and unpredicted surprise? What would we find?

So, as we enter this new year, can you try on a new way of being in the world yourself? What star are you following with all its mystery and unknowns? Where is it leading you and can you open your heart to trust that spiritual mystery is sometimes swaddled in unfamiliar and unaccustomed wrappings?

God leaves no fingerprints nor provides any map. But his star leads us always as he waits for us to find him since he is always looking for us.

1. Stars. by Phantom-Seraph
2. Star of Wonder Star of Night by betsyillustration
3. The nativity scene Oil Painting  by rainwalker007
4. Epiphany by ex-astris1701
5. Sentinels of the Stars by FramedByNature

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