My devotional book took me to the Christmas story this week (yes – I know – wrong time of year), and it pointed out two things I’d never really paid attention to before.
First, Jesus is visited by Magi from the east – astrologers and holy men of a foreign religion – who help save Jesus’ life by not returning to King Herod on their journey back home. (King Herod feigned interest in this infant king, but his plan was to murder and eliminate the threat to his throne.) Second, Jesus family flees to Egypt in the south – a land of idols and many gods – again, to save his life from Herod’s plot to kill all infant boys in Bethlehem.
I’m SO familiar with these texts that I missed it. How beautiful is it that members of other religions – the Magi from the east and the Egyptians to the south – save Jesus.
Perhaps God has a better way for religions to relate to one another.
This Saturday (May 9) is our first Habitat build-day together with the Islamic Center of Raleigh. We’re building a home in honor of the three Muslim students killed in Chapel Hill this past February (Deah, Yusor and Razan). For Rachel and my girls, we’re all going to be there. And not because it’s a required “church event.” And not because it’s a mandatory “family event.” Because it isn’t.
We’re all going because this is what it means to follow Jesus. And this is what it means to be fully human. By the way, these two things are very closely related.
Perhaps I’m overly romanticizing things (I do this all the time!), but maybe a day like Saturday will be a tiny foretaste of Revelation 7:9 “I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”