As we’re in the season of Epiphany, or, celebrando “Los Tres Reyes Mago,” drawing insights from this ancient story and the mission of Alianza feels right. That three Kings of diverse cultures and geographic locations are mystically led to pledge homage to a divine child born in humility, is worth further pondering. The Three Kings story has an archetypal quality (that which is repeated again in sacred literature) which helps us re-imagine how to weave our faith with actions that are empowering and liberating.
The Three Kings story remind us that we too are to be driven by an inner awareness that transcends petty squabbles, competitions, and egoistic agendas that keep us divided. Further, they came to bear gifts. Gifts demonstrate the price we’re willing to pay to invest ourselves to achieve something of the “peace” this “prince” promises, a life where new lenses are placed and all becomes sacred to us. We’re to emulate this humility, shift our consciousness from elitism towards a more egalitarian approach of re-envisioning ourselves and our distinctive agendas. As my friend Brian McLaren writes, people of faith must think more about “decentralizing and diversifying,” become more “radically collaborative,” and to “love” as Jesus taught and embodied.
The three Kings were quite daring to cross the borderland of the tyrant who ruled the day, King Herod. We too must cross many “borderlands” that feel threatening as we struggle for peace and justice. They opted to be quite radical in their collaboration as they came in love to this centered place that was greater than them. Yes, Herod felt threatened by them. He was afraid of a movement beginning, more decentralized, less able for him to control or try and divide. But he couldn’t, because they were moved, not by egoic competition but by an inner piety that informed their mission to be radical, collaborative, and loving. The loving enabled them to see beyond the dualistic notions of “we do it right, you don’t,” or, “their Hispanic identity does not suite well with our causes.”
One of the goals of Alianza is to partner with grassroots organizations of diverse Latino traditions. We seek to establish genuine relationships with the Puerto Rican and Latinx communities, and invite the broad sector of churches to set our eyes on what is larger than us. May we approach this task with the same humility the three Kings did, and consider the gifts we bring that bring us a step closer to what the symbol of this divine child points us too.
About the author:
Father Jerry de Jesus, PhD
Father Jerry de Jesus, PhD, was born and raised in New York’s Spanish Harlem. He is an Episcopal priest, writer, and pastoral counselor. He served as an urban pastor in California, Philadelphia, and Florida, and on the faculty of Temple University and San Francisco Theological Seminary. Father Jerry practices contemplative spirituality and instructs in the inter-relationship of piety and protest.