We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Friday, July 28, 2017

Matthew 2:1-12

For some reason, the East has always held a special fascination for those who live to the west.  Wisdom resides in the East.  "They" are more spiritual than "we" are.  Apparently, this was true when Jesus' was born, and the visit of the wisemen/magi/mystics from the East has a symbolic meaning that we can understand today.  Wisdom and the light of Truth sought out Jesus and worshipped him.  And all of this happened while he was still an infant, which in ancient times meant that he was supposedly an inferior, incomplete person not yet fully human.

This was the claim of the earliest church:  the country preacher from Nazareth who had been strung up by the Romans was something much more than he appeared to be.  The heavens proclaimed his birth.  Truth and Wisdom worshipped at his feet from the time of his birth.  The East sought him out in order to give him gifts of great value, gifts worthy of a king.

But just as we get all teary eyed over this wonderful little baby, politics rears its ugly head.  That word, "king," was a two-edged sword, to be sure.  The Eastern mystics said they were looking for the newborn "King of the Jews."  The reigning actual king of the day, Herod, was not happy.  And here we are again.  In the real world so-called.  The heavenly realm of the East and the mundane, political world of Palestine were actually one world, the one we still live in today.  That too was part of the proclamation of the early church.  They found and experienced the Spirit through an otherwise unassuming, real world son of a carpenter from Galilee—who woulda thought!

So Christians believe, apparently, that All that is Great and Spiritual worshipped at the feet of a lowly little kid from a nobody family.  Weird, huh?  The fancy theological word is "incarnation".  We're still trying to wrap our heads around it 2000 years later—not with a lot of success, it seems, for all of our millennia of verbiage.