Conversation Starters for Epiphany – Part 2
Read Matthew 2: 9-12
Note there is no mention of a manger, shepherds, angels, gifts or an infant. And why not, besides that those are all part of another Gospel tradition? There are some clues in this most enigmatic Gospel that point to a very different reality than our favorite fuzzy memories of the modern Crèche scene. Unlike most Crèche scenes, The Magi are not recorded as being at the manger. In fact, according to the Gospel of Matthew, and the only Biblical record we have of their visit, they went, we assume, to Bethlehem, arriving after the birth and find,
“The child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”
Where is Joseph? Where is the Infant? How old is Jesus at this point that the scripture calls him “child” and not “babe” or “infant?” These questions, to me, have been poignant reminders this year (Common Lectionary Year A) that we are going to be looking at things a little differently. Indeed, that we will have to look at many things this year a bit differently if we wish to survive as a church…and perhaps as a people. This year, in our exploration (those who follow the Common Lectionary) of Matthew’s Gospel, I suspect we will need to pay special attention to how different this Gospel is than the other three.
We will also need to pay special attention to the cultivation of our inner most selves, our communities of faith, and the tending of our spiritual gardens. This is a challenging time in the life of faith. Like supernovas that burst into brilliant light for a time for all to see, they soon fade from view and only the remnants of where they were can be seen in infra-red spectrum telescopes.
What were the Magi’s reactions to seeing the star again after their momentary stop-over in Jerusalem?
What do you think happened while they were in Jerusalem?
Why do you suppose they stopped in Jerusalem in the first place?
Herod found out the exact time the star appeared to them. Why?
What was the first thing the Magi did when they arrived at the house?
What do you think was going through Mary’s head/heart at these strange guests?
How would you have reacted if you were in her shoes?