Day 2: Matthew 2:1-23
It is amazing. The incarnation of God is a young child. And this young child is dependent on young parents to keep him safe (Jewish women at this time would have been married as they reached puberty, so Mary is probably no more than fourteen). The power and political structures of the day are challenged by the disclosure of God in their midst. The wise men represent power that recognizes this disclosure in a positive way; King Herod represents power that is fearful and resorts to brutal violence to crush this moment. This little child is caught in the vortex; this little child that Christians believe is God Incarnate has to navigate the challenge of human political structures. The God we worship understands the complexity of human life and our relations with each other. The story of the Incarnation is a constant engagement with these powerful forces. But God is in control; the spiritual realm—through dreams and angels—connects with the physical realm to safeguard the promise embodied in this child. So a dream instructs the wise men to return to their own country on a route that bypasses Herod, and an angel of the Lord ensures that Joseph takes the child to safety in Egypt. There is much in this narrative: two contrasting political responses, the miracle of the Incarnation dependent on young people, and the way in which the spiritual realm interconnects with the physical.
Do you respond positively to the demands of love (like the wise men) or with fear (like Herod)? What do you think about the miracle of a God that becomes a vulnerable child dependent on young parents?
Holy One of light and love, we marvel and thank you for the miracle of the Incarnation. We thank you that you took human form and made yourself dependent on the judgment of young parents. We bow the knee and recognize that this is true love. Please help us to be agents of love, equally willing to be vulnerable and dependent on others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, PhDDean and President of Virginia Theological
Crafton, Barbara Cawthorne. A Journey With Matthew: The 50 Day Bible Challenge . Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.