Friday, January 3, 2014

We Three Queens (Matthew 2: 9-11)

After their audience with the ruler (Herod), they set out. The star which they had observed at its rising went ahead of them until it came to a standstill over the place where the child lay. They were overjoyed at seeing the star and, upon entering the house, found the child with Mary, his mother. They prostrated themselves and paid homage. Then they opened their coffers and presented the child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:9-11

Having celebrated Christmas on the church calendar and New Year's on the Julian calendar you may be wondering why we've returned to Bethlehem. One church word - Epiphany. In tradition the Wise Men worshiping Jesus is the first "revelation of salvation" to the Gentiles. Epiphany is a time to celebrate those outside the "in group" discovering the love of God. 

A number of years ago I served a United Church of Christ congregation in rural Utah. For those who are unaware, Utah is the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, commonly called the Mormons. As a group (although individuals vary) the Mormon church is extremely parochial - if you are not Mormon then you are disillusioned and a part of all that is religiously false. In short, if you are not Mormon then you cannot know God. The Mormons see themselves as the faithful believers and all non-Mormons as "Gentiles." So in Utah Epiphany became a grand reminder that the in group does not corner the market on God's love.

As God's light came to those who had never heard of Abraham/Sarah, Isaac/Rebecca, and Jacob/Lea and Rachel - little less their God - so God's light and love seeks out those who the church (regardless of its form) has turned its back on. We gender and sexually diverse people certainly find ourselves shut out and ostracized by certain voices within religious settings. In the midst's of these voices it is easy to think that we are forever Gentiles, cut off from the living God.

Yet as with the Magi so it is with us, God finds ways to work around the anger, the fear, and the misunderstanding that seeks to stymie our expressions of love. In the darkness, which certain religious voices seek to entomb us in, rises the star of God's guiding care. We discover we have not been abandoned and that providence finds us and guides us to wholeness, to the new dawn, to making it through "this," to forgiveness, to the intangible yet very real uplifting arm of the Divine. 

It is Epiphany - God known to us in the midst of who we are, as we are, where we are. Such is the working of God who wishes light and life for all, even the queer children of the family of humanity.

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