“Vulnerable Incarnation?” from Matthew 2:1-18
The light among us, the Light no darkness overcomes (according to the Gospel of John) knew some peril at its inception according to the story of Epiphany, the day we mark today.
That Light, embodied in a particular way by this Child, found protection and shelter and solace and grew among us. This vulnerable incarnation of the Divine had someone to carry him across a border to safety…someone to nurse him…someone to clean him…someone to keep watch for predators and thieves. Perhaps strangers along the way offered food and water. Jesus, God-with-us, a vulnerable child, needed people for shelter, protection, nurture, and vigilant care.
People like you and I helped bring the Light to full brilliance. And “the light within the Child,” Phillip Newell reminds us, “is the Light at the heart of all life. It is the Light from which all things come…the Light at the heart of everything.” (Day One, 1/6/13).
Suppose for a moment that this is so. Suppose for a moment that the Light within the child Mary and Joseph carried across the Sinai dwells within everything. Perhaps it shines most at the edges of power, perhaps it emerges in unlikely places and places we may not even be conscious of. Perhaps it is under attack by the hatred, violence, and death throes of a crumbling order…and we would be advised to seek Light among the victims of today’s Herods.
We need to be vigilant and persistent in our looking for the Light, like the magi. Then we will see that the Light dwells among us, within us, and within all creation. With wisdom and awakeness we can see it, like the magi. With courage and openness, we can once again bring life to Light, like Mary and Joseph. We can nurture and strengthen the embers of love, compassion, healing, and mercy. We can shelter faltering flames from Herod-like gusts of destruction of the earth and all upon it. We can carry a precarious light across rough terrain, knowing that its time to fully shine forth comes.
A light beckons us, always. A light dwells among us, always. May we shelter and care for it well. Together we can foil the Herods among us and let fuller Light emerge and become incarnate among us.
May it be so.
–Rev. Ruth Moerdyk