Expansive Love – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Matthew 2:14-21

Fiber, beads, pigment, wax, wood, copper, historic rosters and photos, digital image and database software. We Brothers played with these and more for a week of creativity. Diverse mediums for diverse persons, each in the image of our Divine Maker.

Matthew opens his telling of the good news with a genealogy notably including four courageous women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Their stories and that of sinful husbands Judah and David are scandalous. All four are foreigners. Jesus’ bloodline is not only Jewish but also Canaanite, Moabite, and Hittite. Jesus came for the world from the world.[i]

Wise men from the East, magi, foreign astrologers come to worship Jesus by what they have learned by studying stars, not scripture. As gentiles and astrologers, like the four women, they were outsiders, and Matthew tells their story as part of Good News. There are different ideas about the magi. Here’s one that catches my imagination. As in Matthew’s genealogy, one can mark Israel’s history by the low point of exile in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, took most of the city captive and moved them 900 miles away. Daniel was in a small group of exiles who served in the palace. One idea is Daniel learned astrology from magi and left a record with them about how to interpret a particular star, for which centuries later magi travelled those 900 miles to worship Jesus.[ii]

Grace amid captivity. Creative seed-sowing for expansive mission to diverse peoples. Grace amid scandal and sin. As Ray Bakke wrote, God came through a mixed-race family with a foreign welcome party, God in flesh for all humanity.[iii]  Jesus came and is for all of us, in the diversity and messiness of our stories. No one is beyond reach of God’s saving power.

Pay attention for surprising grace in unlikely people and places. Give thanks for courageous grandmothers and visiting wizards. Our Divine Maker uses all mediums to reveal expansive love.

[i] Ray Bakke (1997) A Theology as Big as the City. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, p125.

[ii] Raymond Bakke (1999) A Biblical Word for an Urban World: Messages from the 1999 World Mission Conference. Valley Forge, PA: Board of International Ministries, American Baptist Churches in the USA, p55.

[iii] Ibid, p54.

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