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Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service – Feast of Epiphany
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
Mt 2: 1-12
Is 60: 1-6
Ps 72: 1-2, 7-8, 10-13
Eph 3: 2-3a, 5-6
Following a Star
“ A prophet is not someone who first had an idea.
A prophet is the one to first believe in it – and take it to its conclusion.”
The story of the three magi is ultimately a story about faith. Legend suggests that the magi were astronomers – learned men who were taught how to read and interpret the movement of the stars. In watching and observing the stars, they saw something that suggested to them that something magnificent was happening. There was no way of explaining how, why or what the “something magnificent” might be, but whatever it was the magi saw, compelled them to follow the star. They had no idea where the star might lead them or what the outcome of their journey might be, but what they discovered at the end of their journey was far beyond what they could have imagined themselves – the birth of LOVE in the world.
The magi provide for us a model and an example of faith. Each and every one of us are gifted at least once (but for most it is MANY) in our lifetimes with a STAR – something that shows up seemingly out of nowhere – twinkling and sparkling and urging us on in search of something. Often, we don’t know what that something is – only that we have to follow our urging. Following that urging brings us through many life experiences – easy pathways and some that seem treacherous. But like the magi, we are compelled to continue on. Faith is what compels us and what allows us to continue searching in spite of the many obstacles to the search that may arise. We may take a detour from our path because the path feels fearful, or we are not yet ready to let go of the things we cling to that would allow us to receive the gift at the end of the star. But Faith, eventually draws us back on course and toward the destination – ultimately of our Soul. Faith is not something that happens by our effort, but is instead the imprint of our Soul’s Purpose leading us home. Yes, we can deny the calling of our Soul – but there are consequences to this choice – desolation, despair, loneliness and even physical illness and pain. Faith will win in the end and we have a choice as to whether we experience the gift of the star in this life or if we have to wait until the moment of our death.
What is the star that has shown up in your life?
How are you following the star that is leading to the birth of love in your own life?
What role is faith playing in your journey with the star?
Spiritual Practices – Time Line
Chances are that you have already experienced one, if not many, stars in your lifetime which have shown up to lead you to greater and greater experiences of love, meaning, purpose and fulfillment. As hindsight is 20/20, it is often helpful to look back in order that we may look forward to the current stars which are calling to us and leading us toward even greater joy.
On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line. Place a zero at the beginning of the line and your current age on the end of the line. Reflect back on your life and take note of where “stars” showed up in your life. What were the situations, experiences, conversations that awakened you to a new sense of calling, that provoked you to explore making a change in your life, urged you to begin a new search. Mark those situations, etc. on the line and the age you were when they appeared. Choose one of the stars and go back and imagine in detail all the circumstances that surrounded the appearance of the star and the journey it took you on. Take the story all the way to its conclusion and all the details surrounding the process of getting there (if it has been concluded). If the story has not yet come to its conclusion, bring it into the current time and imagine for yourself what the outcome might be – or better yet, invite God to show you what the outcome might look like.
Write down the story of this star and its conclusion or imagined conclusion.
Reflect on what you have written and experienced. What role did faith play in this journey?
This week, instead of expounding upon how the story of the magi fits into Authentic Freedom, I am offering you an opportunity to experience a two living examples of Authentic Freedom as experienced through modern-day individuals – Mahatma Gandhi and The Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Two spectacular movies have been made which represent the way in which both of these men lived Authentic Freedom – Gandhi and Kundun. This weekend, go to your local library or video store and watch one of these movies, or watch them on Amazon Prime or YouTube (links below).
Kundun – Part 1 of 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8auIjicuK-U