Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Wise Men as Intruders

The Revd Prof Oliver O'Donovan has an unusual take on the Magi:

"image yourself on the receiving end of their enquries, as they barge into a Jewish pastoral idyll which is none of their business and which they do not understand. They put the wrong question at the wrong moment to the wrong person, hopelessly confused by Hellenistic political theology and astrology, and the result is tragedy. The story ought to be an object-lesson in the importance of not meddling."

Though this is radically subverted in the rest of the sermon. We might think walls are needed for the florishing of any society but the Epiphany is God bringing in the bulldozers and the dynamite:

"The oh-so-sensetive, delicate, unprejudiced awareness of the appropriate communication is jarred, painfully, stridently, by this monstrous cosmic tactlessness, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body. This is mixing incompatibles with a vengence!"

The brief sermon is a call to Evangelism which ends:

"Pray that a new generation of nosey wisemen and insensitive enquiring Gentiles may be rewarded, and that our walls may be rebuilt to accomodate them!"

The Word In Small Boats (Eerdmans, 2010) pp16-18, a sermon preached on 6th January 1991.

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