The Three Wise (Wo)Men

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 2:1-11.

A couple months ago I shared an evening meeting with a family from the church and I admit my attire was quite casual. As we concluded our time together one member of the family stopped to study my shirt – a teal t-shirt emblazoned with a silhouette of the state of Florida and the words nevertheless she preached.

Nevertheless she preached…always up to something, aren’t you!?”

Yes. Yes, I am.

Students of Scripture know that women are not always cast in the best light in our sacred text; therefore, I cling to the moments that women are in fair light and seek the moments of hope and redemption for our Scripture sisters awaiting transformation.

Women were among the first to dance and sing of God’s deliverance through the Red Sea.

Women were the first witnesses to the resurrection.

Women were among and traveled with Jesus and his disciples.

Were women among the magi?

Were women…magi?

We have a tradition of three kings – king referring to male figures – because of the three gifts provided to the Christ child – gold, frankincense and myrrh.

And yet…

There could have been more gifts. There could have been more kings. Kings could have been a collective noun to group together male and female royalty.

There could have been women among the magi.

There could have been women magi!

I believe these imaginings are valid and worthy. Girls and women have a valuable place in this world. God created Eve alongside Adam. Women and men together have walked and weathered and wondered the journey of faith with God from the very beginning.

The worship of Jesus by the shepherds symbolizes the Jews worshipping God’s Son. The worship of Jesus by the magi symbolizes the Gentiles worshipping God’s Son. The Savior of the world is not just for some; the Savior of the world is for all. And imagining the presence of women worshipping Jesus in his nativity sends a powerful message of inclusion of the continuous presence of women in our narrative of faith.

“On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage…and having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road” (Mt 2:11a and 12). I trust the magi left praising and dancing. Upon returning to their homeland, I trust the magi witnessed to what they experienced and who they worshipped.

I trust that women were among the magi…that women were magi…and that nevertheless she (they) preached. From the Garden – from the Red Sea – from Jesus’ nativity – from the empty tomb – from today – for always.

Prayer: “O God, you made of one blood all nations, and, by a star in the East, revealed to all peoples him whose name is Emmanuel. Enable us who know your presence with us so to proclaim his unsearchable riches that all may come to his light and bow before the brightness of his rising, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.”*

*“Epiphany,” The United Methodist Hymnal 255.

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