We continue to follow the Magi—Wise Men from the East—today finding them doing something that may have surprised them. They, when at the manger holding the baby Jesus, “knelt down and paid him homage.” Bowing down to someone in power, someone with authority may have been expected, but bowing down and paying “homage”—respect—to an infant seems different.
Many of us remember, perhaps fondly, kneeling at the communion rail in our churches to receive our Lord’s body and blood. Because our practice of receiving communion has changed in recent years and do not do that so often today, for me the only other times I can remember kneeling were at my wedding and ordination celebrations. You may have different practices but for me kneeling is rare.
Kneeling may or may not have been rare for the Magi, I am not sure. What we do know is that when they arrived at the manager and laid eyes on the baby Jesus they were moved to kneel and pay their deep respect. A very fitting response as God’s plan for the redemption of the world began to take physical form.
Kneeling is a sign of choosing to give authority to someone else. This may not come easy for any of us who have been taught and raised to “take care of ourselves.” The tension of “leaning on the everlasting arms” of our God, and “being in charge and control” of ourselves can be fierce. For the Magi it did not appear to be either strange or difficult. When they saw Christ, they knelt and paid him respect.
The Magi are giving us a clue as to what we might want to do as we meet Christ today. When Christ visits was with an encouraging, a comforting, and even a challenging word we do well to let the Magi lead us and “kneel” or submit to that word. Acknowledging the beauty of having Christ in our lives as our leader and guide, can be giant steps toward health and healing for us. He will protect and defend us to the end. But we must follow that word….more about that tomorrow.
Prayer: Lead, guide, and heal me O Lord. Amen
Tomorrow: Surprising Disclosure