December 8th–The Wise Man w/ the Green Coat
38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (Lk. 1:38)
Reflection (Sara Silburn)
Gaspar was my name, and I am now enshrined in Scripture as one of the three Magi who came to visit Jesus at his birth. Apparently (according to some extra-biblical tradition) I wore a green tunic, a gold crown, and had brown hair. Perhaps more noteworthy, I brought frankincense with me as a gift of honor, symbolizing holiness and righteousness– a fragrant burnt offering.
Most importantly (in my mind) we came as emissaries of the Empire of Herod. Looking back, I marvel at our audacity– to represent the Empire, and then subvert it. Perhaps that is the point of this whole story: that following something is to see the world differently, and weigh power and position in an entirely different light. God chose to use the marginalized and forgotten to represent His Kingdom. I hear you call that, “speaking truth to power”. Micah called it “to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God”. But the Pharisees and Saduccees of Jesus’ day called it something else altogether. What was meant as a gift they called dangerous– the way of the world, not God.
After our visit, we did not return to Herod. Our report went unwritten. We chose, instead, to go home. And to my final days that choice, more than any wealth, power or privilege, is what I consider my legacy. Three rich wise men who chose true Wisdom in the name of justice, mercy and humility over power, position and privilege. That is our legacy.
Where can you choose to speak truth to power this season?
God of Amos– of justice, mercy, and humility– walk with us in our ways, and show us which steps to take to walk with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.