By Kayla Zopfi, 2022-23 Hunger Advocacy Fellow [about the author]
They were prodded by a desire to know. The magi who journeyed to baby Jesus were likely some of the only people who noticed this bright new star in the sky, and they took off with excitement and energy even still.
Story of the Magi
This past Sunday at my young adult and queer-led Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community (SAWC) in Northeast Minneapolis, Tree of Life Lutheran, we did Lectio Divina on the story of the magi. I couldn’t help but reflect on the virtue of curiosity. Curiosity about an anomaly in the established and expected patterns of astronomy led the magi to the Messiah. I like to image them packing their bags to head out on their journey, giddy to point people’s eyes towards the stars, rehearsing what their greeting line to God incarnate will be, and bickering about if they should pack their stylish shoes to change into once they get to Bethlehem or if they should just go with their sensible travel shoes to save space.
After worship we drew star words. A star word is a prayer practice connected to Epiphany, and it is a tool that can be used for periodical reflection throughout the coming year on how God is active in your life. As I flipped the exact star from the basket that seemed to be calling my name, I read the word: curiosity. I let out a laugh at the ironic humor of Holy Spirit giving me the idea I held during Lectio and read my word out loud. Immediately the friends around me started nodding, throwing out quips of, “Sounds about right!” and the like.
Back home for the evening, I decided to pray about the word. For me, curiosity and justice have always gone hand in hand, they’re a package deal. Justice is communal and cannot happen without curiosity. Curiosity is often what ignites us to see and name injustice in the first place, and what nudges us to connect with others so that we might begin to imagine a more just future.
In Micah 6:8 we are asked, “…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Well, maybe we’re being told rather than asked. The “O mortal” thrown in the start of verse 8 is working overtime to help us with the humility part.) For the magi, following their curiosity led to accomplishing all of these requirements.
Curiosity led them to be part of affirming the true divinity of this tiny baby, born in the hay amongst the animals, who would go on to exemplify what ultimate liberation looks like. Curiosity led them to generosity, as they brought precious gifts to this family who’d been cast out by much of society. Curiosity led them to open their hearts to the will of God, trusting the dreams sent to them along their way.
Finding Excitement and Energy
Maybe we can only begin to fully do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God when we first agree to sit with what we know and what we don’t, and lean into the invitation to notice the world and people around us. Be curious. Like the magi, find excitement and energy in the things around you that many don’t even realize they are missing. May we, too, let our curiosity lead us closer to each other and closer to God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kayla Zopfi (she/they) is a Hunger Advocacy Fellow with the ELCA Witness in Society team, passionate about the intersection of faith and the policy. Zopfi is a 2021 graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead, where they studied Religion, Political Science, and Interfaith Studies.