Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three Kings, Three gifts, Three Messages

Epiphany Eve, January 5, 2011, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, The Rev. Paul Moore

Three Kings, Three Gifts, Three Messages

We don't really know which magi brought which gift, but let's just pretend for a minute. Balthazar brought gold. As the song says, gold recognizes the presence of a king. As a gift it reflects our value as people. Not just our net worth, but our human worth, all the riches of who we are as beloved creations of God. Some of us are tall, short, thin or not so thin, some of us speak one language or two, or three and we come from different areas of the world. When we gather together to share the richness of who we are together we offer gold to the Christ Child.

Melchior brought frankincense. As the song says, frankincense owns a deity nigh. As a gift it reflects that part of who we are that is divine—that is, the Spirit, and all that the Spirit does in us. Some of us are priests, deacons and bishops, others are lay with a wide variety of gifts. All of us have the Spirit, given in baptism, so all of us have a frankincense to offer. When we complement our gifts one with another we offer frankincense to the Christ Child.

Gaspar brought myrrh. As the song says, myrrh foreshadows the sacrifice of the Cross. As a gift it offers to God the limitedness of our creation, our mortality, but in doing so it offers more than merely the end of our lives. It offers all the weaknesses of the human frame that God Himself shared, it offers all the shortcomings of the broken human spirit that He did not share. And it offers all the failings and mini-deaths we die daily as we live. It calls us beyond them, to a new heaven and a new earth, in which we see in one another not our failings but our potentials. If it calls us to die with Christ it calls us to be raised with Him. When we die to ourselves and live with one another in forbearance, patience and faithfulness we offer myrrh to the Christ Child.

Three kings, three gifts, three ways of joining with one another to worship one God, one King and one Redeemer.

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