Saturday, December 04, 2010

journey through advent: am I travelling well?

The art piece intrigued me. Positioned inside Spicer Uniting Church were three lifesized cutouts. Each was holding three bicycles. Faceless, they could be any human, about to embark on any adventure.

The art piece was a gift for Advent. Three humans, embarking on an adventure. Which got me thinking about the Magi.

The Magi appear in Matthew 2. The best translation is magician, sorcer, astrologer. There is considerable historical evidence of intense interest in stars and how the relate to world events at the time of Jesus. So we’re dealing there with a world in which people watched the stars in order to get a sort of heads up on significant matters.

I’d always seen the Magi as “them.” Strange, exotic. But looking at the art piece, I began to wonder, what if the Magi were “us”; were “me”? A human embarking on an adventure.

Magi are using their star seeking skills, committed to watching their world, and to seek God’s leading, whatever that might cost.  So the Magi’s journey through Advent, asks us some questions about how well I’m travelling.

  • First, it’s so much easier to guide a moving boat. So this Advent, am I moving? Or am I actually simply seated?
  • Second, this Advent how much attention am I, like the Magi, paying to the world around me. This Advent, how attentive am I to this moment, this place, this conversation?
  • Third, for a Jew, following the stars was a form of idol worship. So by including the Magi, Matthew is telling us that all sorts of people can seek Jesus. (Not always from folks we’d prefer.) This Advent, how open am I to unexpected people among whom God might be at work?

This post is part of an Advent synchroblog, titled journey through Advent.

Posted by steve at 04:57 PM | Comments (21)

21 Comments »

  1. [...] steve taylor – journey through advent–am i traveling well? [...]

    Pingback by making room for the unexpected « the carnival in my head — December 8, 2010 @ 2:09 am

  2. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by john c. o'keefe » The Season of Advent[ure] — December 8, 2010 @ 4:55 am

  3. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Advent Synchroblog « Khanya — December 8, 2010 @ 7:50 am

  4. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Walking through Advent Today | The Assembling of the Church — December 8, 2010 @ 8:32 am

  5. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Advent: A Journey of Awakening « Grace Rules Weblog — December 8, 2010 @ 10:08 am

  6. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Link List for Advent – A Journey « synchroblog — December 8, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  7. Interesting point on #3. I hadn’t thought about it like that, but I think you’re right. The scandalousness of the Gospel continues to amaze me.

    Personally, I’m so busy that Advent is a good time to slow down and reflect on if I’m even moving in the right direction. Thanks for the post.

    Comment by Jeff Goins — December 8, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  8. Steve – the idea of Advent being an adventure keeps coming up and I think it is very appropriate … after all, what could be more adventurous then us seeking God! The questions you pose go right along with my own journey during Advent this year – which is a journey of awakening. Thanks for participating in the synchroblog.

    PS My link and several others have been added to the list on the synchroblog blog http://synchroblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/link-list-for-advent-a-journey/

    Comment by Liz — December 8, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  9. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Advent: clear-eyed gaze of the Stranger | Virtual Teahouse — December 8, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  10. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by December Synchroblog: Experiencing Advent with a Toddler? | bethstedman.com — December 8, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

  11. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by December Synchroblog — Advent: The Journey « A piece of my mind — December 9, 2010 @ 3:37 am

  12. [...] with a Toddler Alan at Assembling the Church Walking Through Advent Today Steve at Emergent Kiwi Am I Traveling Well? Wendy at A View from the Bridge Yearning for a Lived Theology Christen at Greener GrassExpecting [...]

    Pingback by Limping along | Marginal Theology — December 9, 2010 @ 3:47 am

  13. [...] steve taylor – journey through advent–am i traveling well? [...]

    Pingback by Jessica and Jack’s Journey – A Yearning for a Lived Theology (December Synchroblog) | Wendy McCaig — December 9, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  14. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Advent – A Journey « Godspace — December 9, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  15. I like point 3 as well. There is room for the “other,” even the “spiritual other.” This leads me to think of everyone else included in the nativity: shepherds (economic diversity alongside the magi) and animals – a holistic acknowledgment of the Incarnations blessing and care for all creation.

    Comment by Peter J. Walker - EmergingChristian.com — December 9, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  16. thanks Peter, if you are interested, I have written a journal article on animals and Christianity, which has some mention of animals at Incarnation. I have flick you the article if you like

    steve

    Comment by steve taylor — December 9, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  17. thanks for participating in the synchroblog, steve. i always love remembering how utterly wild the christmas story is and the unexpected characters who are involved. yes, the divide between “us and them” is broken down over and over again.

    Comment by kathyescobar — December 11, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

  18. thanks kathy. i initiated an advent synchroblog way back in early 2000′s among emerging church folk, so it’s nice to see the idea continuing,

    Steve

    Comment by steve — December 11, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

  19. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Repost: Advent–the clear-eyed gaze of the Stranger | Finding Ground — December 12, 2010 @ 4:43 am

  20. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? « Minnowspeaks Weblog — December 15, 2010 @ 3:23 am

  21. [...] Steve at Emergent Kiwi – Am I Traveling Well? [...]

    Pingback by Advent–Expecting and Un-Expecting « Greener Grass — December 17, 2012 @ 1:11 am

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