Knowing that the story of the Magi sojourning from the east to pay homage to the Christ child is usually a Christmas story, there was some hesitation to bring this meditation to print today. It kind of seems out of place other times of the year, yet there are some compelling thoughts that seem important to share and hopefully not unduly contestable.
The Magi followed a star to Bethlehem. They were in search of a political figure, a future King. These Wise Men brought expensive gifts with them because this would have been an appropriate and expected way of honoring a future monarch. To their surprise they found the Christ child in a stable, lying in a barnyard manger (a trough intended to be used by cattle), and entrusted to the care of common parents with no royal promise to an earthly throne. This was a clear sign to the Magi that the Kingdom of God is not politically driven. The Christ child was stripped of all earthy splendor for the purpose of informing us that the Kingdom of God is spiritual.
The commingling of the Christian church and State government has done little to advance the spiritual quality and the true mission of the Kingdom of God. Shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire the Christian Church took on a major political role in Europe and beyond. This partnership resulted in many political missteps and religious abuses within the church.
To a much lesser extent than historical Europe, over the last few decades there have been subtle and overt attempts to advance and merge specific religious agendas with national American politics. Not to say as Christians, we should not vote for, throw our support toward, or put forth a candidate who reflects true Christian virtues and ideals. This we should do because we are voting our conscience and convictions. But we should be reminded, the Kingdom of God is not political, it is a spiritual commonwealth. Trying to secure favorable political positioning by castigating others and character assassinations is unworthy of the citizens of the Kingdom of God. We should also carefully consider minimizing the tendency to devalue our fellow citizens of faith, sincere and committed Christians just because they are partial to an apposing political party.
The Magi came to give homage to Jesus as a political figure, a future monarch: possibly even seeking favorable political positioning of some kind. They quickly found out that there was nothing political about their encounter with Him. It was humbling, spiritual and inward. These Persian astrologers and philosophers had no political message or advice when they returned home. They did not advance any political agenda or secure any favors. The Wise Men had a spiritual experience to share. Even the miraculous way they found Jesus, led by a star in the sky was eclipsed by humbling marks of dishonor and the inward power of a spiritual experience.
Joseph C. Hutchison
Rochester Hills, Michigan
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