Saturday, January 1, 2011
Magi from the East
"Magi from the East" is all Matthew tells us about them in his 2nd chapter. Originally Magi were Persian priests with a reputation for interpreting dreams. Matthew is content to say "from the East." In his commentary on Matthew Harrington says that their name points to Persia, present day Iran. Their studying the stars points to Babylonia, roughly present day Iraq. Their gifts of frankincense and myrrh point to Arabia or the Syrian desert. All Matthew really wants to say is that they are not "from here." They are foreigners, they are not Jews.
Matthew is writing for a community of Jews who have become Christian. By the time of his writing they are seeing a lot more non-Jews than Jews becoming Christian. These Magi from the East represent all the non-Jews of the world. They will benefit, along with the Jews, in the salvation brought by the Jewish Messiah.
God moves through dimensions that we cannot imagine to become, not only one of us, but all of us. God now lives in every human being who ever lived or who will ever live. The Divine becomes human so that the human can become Divine.
Thursday evening's sunset and afterglow had a kind of pink/peach shade that this picture barely captures. I couldn't help but think of it as a bit of God showing through from some other dimension.