I grew up in a small town just outside Pittsburgh, PA.
Our family lived on Third Street between Center Avenue and Eastern Ave.
It was a town of houses built closely together with each house having a very small backyard, if it had any yard at all. Because of that, the alleys, which ran between each of the streets, became our neighborhood playground and the gathering place for all the neighborhood children. Besides wiffle ball, our favorite summertime game was Hide ‘n Seek. In the alley behind our house you could find countless bushes and doorways and corners to hide in or around. The goal of the game, as you know, was to hide so well you would not be found. But the game also involved a seeker. The person whose task it was to look for and to search for and to find everyone else who was hiding. In the game Hide ‘n Seek, you want to be among those who hide, but this morning, as we remember and retell the story of the Magi, I would invite you to pay attention to what it means to be a seeker. To be the one who looks for and searches for and finds that which, sometimes, seems to be hidden.
You remember how Matthew tells the story of the birth of Jesus.
Astrologers or wisemen from somewhere in the East, see a star and take it to be a sign.
They then follow the star, first to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, seeking the child whose birth they believed the star’s appearance foretold. As I read this story again, in preparation for this morning, here is what I found myself thinking about.
It is not the star.
It is not their gifts.
It is not that we have transformed these astrologers into kings which is important.
What is important is that the Magi were seekers willing to leave the comfort and security of where they were, not knowing for sure where they would end up, in order to look for that which they knew to be important, but which they did not completely understand.
And, that, I think, is the lesson for us.
The take away from Matthew’s story of the Magi.
You and I are called to be like them.
We are called to be seekers.
Continually looking for and searching for and asking about that which lies at the center of who we are and who we are meant to be, and at the center of what it means to live together as the human family which, when we step away from all the doctrine and all the dogma and all of the layered on traditions, is what any faith perspective is about.
Seeking to find and to follow that which we know and name as God.
Seeking to recognize our shared humanity and what it means to be human.
Seeking to understand what it means to live compassionate, courageous, hope-filled lives.
More than any other name or label that we might put on ourselves or others – Christian, Spiritual but not Religious, Believer, None of the Above – what if we first saw ourselves as Magi? As seekers?
Here is what I believe.
We are called to leave behind our certainty and even our uncertainty.
And, to risk a journey.
A journey towards peace and sufficiency and a world where all have enough and all have a place.
In the language of our Christian tradition…towards God’s Kingdom come.
Following a star or our heart or our head or each other.
Trusting that, in the end, we will find our way.