Yesterday I spent the morning writing a lovely reflection on the gift and blessing of Epiphany. Coupled with excerpts from a beautiful poem by Jan Richardson, I reflected on how the star only guided the magi to the halfway point of their journey. I considered what it meant that it was a dream that directed and empowered them to defy the king and journey home by another route.
I was almost finished with my meditation when the first reports and images of insurrectionists storming the Capitol building started filling my newsfeed. I watched in horror and heartbreak, but sadly not shock as a mob defiled the halls of Congress and a symbol of our democracy. This was not a display of patriotism. This was not a protest. This is what happens when political leaders perpetuate lies, stoke the fires of white nationalism, and consistently undermine the democracy they took an oath to uphold.
Over two thousand years ago, the magi courageously defied the orders of a corrupt king who was willing to anything, including slaughter children, to hold on to power. This is what demagogues do. There’s no limit to the lengths they will go to wield power, but there’s always an end. The empires of this world will all pass away in time, but the light of God’s love, truth, hope, peace, and justice will continue to shine.
The magi were guided by a dream to seek a different way home. in the wake of what happened yesterday, I pray we seek to envision a different way moving forward and dare to dream of a different kind of world—one in which we can disagree without destroying one another, one in which we beat our swords into ploughshares.
Almost two hundred fifty years ago, this nation declared its independence from a king and ratified a Constitution for a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” It’s a revolutionary document, but it’s only as good as the people who choose to engage in the ongoing work of perfecting this union. Patriotism is not loyalty to a single person or political party, but rather a commitment to the lofty ideals expressed so long ago that all people are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As we move forward, daring to dream of how God’s calling us to faithfully proclaim the gospel, I pray we be like the magi, wise and courageous despite all the setbacks, surprises, horror, and heartbreaks we will face along the way
May God bless you and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you and give you peace.