Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Witness: The Man from the East

They call me many things.

King, but I rule over nothing, not even my wife.

Magician, but I make no magic.

Wise man, but the more I learn, the less I know.

Astrologer, but the stars know me more than I them.

Prophet, but I only study what the prophets have written; I make no prophecies of my own.

Still, they listen, and they ask. Some fear my answers.

The prophets agree that this was the time, and not only the old Hebrew scrolls left behind in Babylon.

The time, long foretold, had come.

Even the heavens spoke this truth. And we followed the sign of the heavens.

And so I went, to see the king who would rule over hearts.

The king who would rule forever.

The journey was long. Too long. Many times I thought to turn back. But I, or my camel, kept on.

One, then the other, joined me. They too were on the same mission, the same journey, the same search.

To see this king.

We each carried a gift. A gift of wealth, a gift of worship, a gift of homage.

Around our campfires, we would speak in spite of the sand between our teeth. We shared our learning, our knowledge, our understanding. We each had a piece, but even together the pieces did not make a whole.

Wise men, indeed.

Our only wisdom as to follow the sign of the heavens.

When we reached Judea, we were perplexed why this king would be born in a land ruled by an iron fist of Rome and the venality of a Hasmonean king. Even the priests in the temple at Jerusalem were uneasy. They, too, knew the signs, but too loud a whisper could lose you your priestly head.

We slipped away, quietly, at night, right before the gates were closed.

We found him in the place the call Bethlehem, the house of bread. An odd name for the City of David. But even in our countries, bread is life.

We find our king, the king to rule our hearts for all time.

We find him in a hovel for animals.

And yet, when we saw him, we knew. You could not help but know.

We knew.

The prophecies had been fulfilled in a most unexpected way, yes.

But they had been fulfilled.

We joined the others on bended knees. We offered our gifts, which seemed so humble in his presence.

And we worshipped, in the murmur of human prayers and the song of a dove, under the sign of the heavens.

Related: Witness: The Innkeeper

             Witness: The Shepherd

Illustration: Mosaic of the Three Wise Men, Church of St. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy, 6th century A.D.


Michael said...

This was spectacular. I think it's harder to tell a story that's already been told in poetry. And you did it beautifully.

Jerry said...

I am so enjoying the different perspectives...now I wonder who is next? Thanks for thinking through these....

H. Gillham said...

I'm with Jerry...



Ordinary Things said...

Showing us the familiar from a new perspective is always refreshing...love this :)

richd said...

I love the heart behind these stories. It's like reading true fiction.

Maureen said...

I mentioned yesterday how much I've been enjoying your "perspectives" pieces. In each one, as here, the voice you've assumed shows your understanding of the speaker's status and the wonder always comes across. Wonderful.

Louise Gallagher said...

I'm with everyone! Spectacular.

I think you have a book here -- with beautiful stained glass etchings of the scenes you so beautifully depict.

SimplyDarlene said...

Our family has been thinking on those wise men a lot this year. I am looking forward to reading your other "witness" pieces.


Unknown said...

I will echo everyone else in saying this was great. I love the fresh perspective you present as you re-tell these familiar events.

Brock S. Henning said...

Another wonderful post, Glynn. I love Wise Men stories.

Marcus Goodyear said...

"But I, or my camel, kept on."

That's a good word. The journey has felt a little harder lately. Maybe I should just accept a ride from a camel on my way to worship God in my daily work.

Metaphors are nice, and now I need to find the 21st century social media version of a camel...

Anonymous said...

i am traveling
feeling the camel's back
the sand in my teeth
the thirst and doubt
hearing the voices
of the others joining
feeling the knowing
holding the humble offering
hearing the song of the dove

Unknown said...

Glynn, reading this was splendid.

Linda said...

I really liked looking at the familiar story through your eyes Glynn. I think we often forget they were people just like us - with all those same emotions.
Thank you for this.
Have a wonderful Christmas. What fun it will be with that precious little one.

Sandra Heska King said...

I love your witness.

iarema said...

wise man, but the more i learn, i find that i used to have a crown before xix-th century when felice kibel changed it for phrygian cap