“They saw his star in the East.” – Matthew 2:2
A lot of people are looking for a spiritual traffic sign, like where to turn and where not to turn. Zadie Smith, the novelist, speaks of the unbearable cruelty of proofs. Proofs are what an author receives when a book is ready for publication. You may have written the book two years ago, edited it a year ago, endured the edits of the editors six months ago – and then finally, you see the thing and you can’t help but wonder who wrote this stuff.
Proofs are last year’s resolutions, in that dog-eared notebook, the one we put in our scrapbook already. Proofs are what we ate and drank two years ago that created the pounds we can’t lose tomorrow.
Proofs are also the star in the East that we forgot to worship when it rose the last time.
I would prefer traffic lights of a spiritual nature to proofs. Yield. Merge. Stop. Yellow lights would be ok as long as they turned to red or green eventually. Rather than continue to lament the problem of personal annual accountability, let me suggest three simplicities. They connect.
First, look up. The answer is in the sky, not in more effort or more determination or more will power. Jesus is the way, according to the proven wise. They look up, not around. They look deep, not shallow. They look long, not short. Secondly, look up often, even at lunchtime or when your stomach turns at the thought of another email. Third, understand all the signs are already there, calling your name.
When we think we are lost, O God, point us to the Jesus way, the one the wise followed. Let that signal light prove us true. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.