Saturday, April 28, 2012
Jesus deck lectionary: spirituality of “wise men” as theology of family
I am using the Jesus Deck as my current lectionary. Every day I deal myself a card. Before Easter, it was Mark, as I ran through the drama that is Holy week. After Easter, Christians celebrate resurrection. A season of surprise. So the whole deck gets shuffled and dealt randomly. After Pentecost, I will use colour. I will keep dealing cards until I find some green. Growth. The colour attributed to the Spirit in Rublevs Icon. That will become my lectionary.
Today the Jesus deck dealt me Matthew 2. The text on the top reads “We have seen his star.” The text running along the bottom reads “Astrologers.” It’s a reference to the magi of Matthew 2:1-12.
It is interesting to engage this story outside Christmas. Although of course, given travel time, the story would have started months before.
Perhaps on a day in April.
A day like today.
Looking at this Jesus deck card, I am struck by how God uses hobbies – took the everyday passions of these “magi” and crafted through that a way to seek and search. So often spirituality is removed from the ordinary, and yet here is God inviting our hobbies and vocations, our passions and interests into a pursuit of divine. (Hence my Dictionary of Everyday Spirituality series).
Thinking of ordinary, I began to wonder if these magi had families. If so, what the star would have meant for their spiritual search.
You see, family is the perennial problem faced by all travellers. To take the kids and grandparents. Or to leave them behind.
The horns of a dilemna. To go alone. Or to drag in the innocent with you on an unknown search?
Either way, stay or come, relationships are being torn, domestic life reshaped. It’s a tough gig, seeing a star.
Which took me back to the Biblical text surrounding this particular Jesus deck card. Families in pain surround the magi narrative.
Jesus being wrapt in swaddling cloth and rocked to Egypt. That’s migration – forced to find shelter in a new language; look for work as your potential workmates comment on your accent; missing home; family not seeing the first Jesus smile, the first Jesus step. It’s a tough gig, carrying a star.
And let’s not talk about the screams that rent Israel. The nightmares of mothers screaming for their babies, dead at Herod’s knife. Families in pain surrounds this Jesus.
So what happens when we engage the story of the magi outside Christmas. We are invited to seek a star, to find God amid our ordinary. But as we peer at the spiritual search we ponder. Is it one of glamourous adventure? Or deep pain? Or both?
Time for a hug of those I love.