Monday, December 12, 2005

Wiseman or Shepherd - Explained

We think we know all about shepherds and wisemen, but perhaps we don't...

This is an "explaination" for the previous poem.

The Shepherds

The orthodox Jew often despised the shepherds. Due to the very nature of their occupations they could not always participate in the rites and ceremonial rituals. It made no matter that the Jews’ greatest ancestors, Moses, Abraham, and David, were all shepherds and were idolized.

It is much like an ancestor of ours who, though somewhat of a “rascal” or an “outcast” might be idolized or spoken of with thinly veiled price. “We wouldn’t do what they did, but…”

How much easier it is to romanticize life than to actually live it.

Therefore, the shepherds were looked upon with disgust, although they were greatly needed, because it was they who raised and cared for the “unblemished lambs” that were used for all the temple sacrifices.

They were the “blue collar service industry.” All these people we greatly need, but never “see…”

The Wisemen

The Magi, also known as “The Wisemen” were learned men and scholars, most likely descended from the Medes. They were also skilled in astronomy and astrology, which was the study of the stars, as well as their meanings. (God said in Genesis 1:14 that the lights in the heavens were to be for “signs and seasons and for days and years.”) Astrology and astronomy were not mutually exclusive, but mutually explanatory.

The Wisemen, in addition to being a priestly tribe, were men who spent their time in study. Anyone who comes into a study (of any kind) with an open heart is prepared (however unknowingly) to hear God’s voice. (As God is over all things, He speaks in all things.)

“How do we begin to understand without study?
And how do we study without desire?
And how do we desire without seeing a need?
And how do we see a need without beginning to understand that we need to study?
It is completely God’s Calling.”

The Wisemen were called and prepared, and sent. And then they proclaimed. All without ever having known that they were used of God.

Betty Newman ©2002


Blogger Greg Hazelrig said...

Thanks for your take on the shepherds and the wise men. These comments will be in the back of my mind and may come in handy in the next 2-3 weeks as I prepare my sermons.

7:26 AM  
Blogger monkey czar said...

Thanks Betsy - Using similar thoughts on the shepherds, I've posted a little monologue based on the experience of an imaginary shepherd. I wrote it with my kids in mind about a decade ago, and now that they're grown they still want me to trot it out every year at Christmas.

Eliezer the Unreliable

4:49 PM  

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