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Seeking the Star

January 6, 2021 

 

King Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word.”
(Matthew 2:7-8, NRSV)
 

I wonder if the seekers from the East had their own followers: disciples who trusted the questions they asked, who were inspired by their studies, who took seriously their interpretation of the star’s rising, who joined them on the quest for a single child in a foreign land. 

When the seekers stopped in Jerusalem, their question to Herod – “Where is the child who was born king of the Jews?” – was not only a question but also an invitation to share their curiosity and follow the star with them. “Can you envision what we’re seeking?”

But Herod didn’t consider himself to be a follower, a fellow seeker, or a wayfarer on the path toward wisdom. He already had his wisdom. He was the king. He was in charge. He had a throne to preserve at all costs. 

That didn’t make Herod a leader. It made him a doctrine, a self-contained set of answers, a human dogma that could not tolerate questions. Doctrines demand devotees, adherents and audiences. Doctrines love to be the star.

The seekers from the East weren’t leaders either (even if they had followers). The seekers came to Herod with a question. It made them students, practitioners, collaborators who need others to learn. Students need others to shine.

And so it has been through the ages of humanity, that there are those who demand stardom and obedience to their desire to be the star and there are those who wonder and wander in joyful awe of the lights that shine beyond them … and most of us are both.

Prayer: For every jealous desire to be a star, O Holy Revelation, forgive me. Through every gift that shines and shares the way, O Holy Child, be blessed and bless us. 

written for the Daily Devotional

Room for Rage

Herod sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” – Matthew 2:16-18 (NRSV) 

If you had a beautiful, Rockwell-esque Christmas holiday – and I hope you did, in whatever ways are most meaningful to you – remember that even in the midst of such beauty: there is still rage and grief and wailing within your spirit that needs to be noticed. 

If you’re feeling good about the tide of your preferred political platform, if you’re full of confidence in the direction of the economy and the government, remember that even in the strongest bull market: there is still rage and loud lamentation and inconsolable pain in the world that needs to be addressed. 

If you are eager to throw your 2021 calendar in the trash, and you have all of your incense and candles and rituals prepared to sweep out 2021 and bless 2022, remember that even when the year is new: there is still rage and death and dreadful absence that haunts our collective spirit and needs to be healed. 

Make room for the rage.

Welcome it like a weary traveler who can’t find a room in the inn.

Give it space where it can cry and groan.

Light a candle if it labors through the night. 

Do not be quick to console it, only keep it company to be sure it doesn’t harm others.

Make room for rage. 

Amplify its voice. 

Do not be embarrassed if it echoes through the streets; they are missing something that it offers. 

Let it be messy and imperfect. 

Let it teach you something. 

Let it convict your heart of love and justice. 

Make room for rage. 

Prayer: On the verge of something new, a storm of rage brews for all that has been, for all that could have been, for all that will be because of what was. Here is my rage, here is our rage, here is my siblings’ rage: loud and inconsolable. May it be a blessing. 

written for the Daily Devotional

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