Singing, Diversity, and the Worship of the Wise Men

This pastoral passage was originally written for LRBC for 13 December 2020

Some Christians have seen in the story of the ‘three wise men’ (Matthew 2:1-12) a small glimpse of a past promise that still awaits its future fulfilment.

In Isaiah 60:3-6 & 16 we read of promises God made long before the birth of Jesus that foreign peoples and kings would come to Jerusalem, bringing gifts including gold and frankincense.

In Revelation 21:24-26 we read of a similar promise, expected to be fulfilled at some point in the future, where kings of the earth bring their glory to a new Jerusalem, and no doubt join in the singing of the multinational multitude of the redeemed in chapter 7.

Reading Jesus as the focal point of God’s promises to his people, we too can see the wise men as a beginning of the gathering of the nations to bring offerings and worship to Jesus.

We can see the connection of sung worship and the unifying of diverse peoples in the letters of Paul. In Romans 15 Paul encourages his readers to recognise that they are all alike part of God’s people, regardless of their background, and asks them to live in harmony with each other so that they can together “with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:6, cf. Colossians 3:11-16).

When we sing together as a fellowship, we join the reality hinted at by the coming of the wise men to Jesus. We who are not ethnic sons and daughters of Israel have joined the ‘wise men’ in their wisdom when we come to Christ and raise our voices together to him. One day we will join that multitude of Revelation 7. Today we sing as a small sample of that.