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The first Zoroastrian scouts


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Hey guys, have you ever heard of the first Zoroastrian scouts? They formed an awesome patrol, and took turns in their unit’s most important position of responsibility: Chaplains Aide.

Well, first they earned astronomy merit badge, then Orienteering . While working on personal management, they built up a stash of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They kept themselves physically fit, studied nature, transportation, and citizenship in the empire. Then one clear night, while watching Jupiter retrograde around Leo, one of them said, “Hey let’s go venturing and see where that will take us. I bet we’ll have a royal time.”

His buddies said, “Okay, wise guy! Saddle up!”

And that, my fellow scouts, is how being prepared can help you find what you’re looking for, and found a holiday that puts smiles on children’s faces everywhere.

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@jcousino, if in jest, it is with utmost seriousness. Some background:

Our common use of the term “wise men” dilutes what the Evangelist Matthew was trying to say. Magi, in Ancient Greek literature, specifically referred to Persian priests — most likely Zoroastrian. The point being that these Christmas visitors were alien to anyone who’d have a religious or political connection to the story about to unfold. But, strange as they might have been to occupier or inhabitant of Palestine — they were specially preparing their whole lives to anoint kings as part of their religious duty. (At least, if they were Zoroastrian, ancient texts tell us that was part of their priestly duty.)

So that brief line in the Bible refers to brazen characters with a very deep backstory centuries in the making. And, for Sunday School students who don’t spent much time actually looking at stars, I frame it as such.

But for scouts who will only give us one minute at the end of the year — in which we’ve had them name stars and navigate terrain and master citizenship — I want them to know that what they are doing now is in preparation for great things they may do later.

Happy Christmas to all.

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 "Christmas visitors were alien to anyone who’d have a religious or political connection to the story about to unfold.  that i will respectfully disagree with mostly likely  they were Babylonian... if we review our old testament history where God sent the jews into captivity it was to Babylon "Daniel eventually became a chief advisor to the King, then the third ruler of the entire kingdom.  So even hundreds of  years later the teaching of Daniel and his God  would have been part of Bayloon wisdom.and with all the jewish prisoners'  So yes they knew of the birth both through history fortelling, the location and who,s  and timing based on the Stars(star). It stand to me alw that God would send his people into captivity and cause that nation to be the first nation to recognize his Son as KIng of Kings before the nation of his birth

 

Merry Christian

 

john 

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On 12/25/2022 at 2:14 PM, jcousino said:

 "Christmas visitors were alien to anyone who’d have a religious or political connection to the story about to unfold.  that i will respectfully disagree with mostly likely  they were Babylonian... if we review our old testament history where God sent the jews into captivity it was to Babylon "Daniel …

@jcousino, Daniel (thanks to that incident with Darius’ big cats) was a figure of note in Persia as well. By the first century, the Parthian Empire overarched both long-established Babylonian and Persian Jewish communities. So, to say that Magi were more in contact with one community vs the other is too specific for the Nativity text. One can only guess that they had at least indirect access to Hebrew scripture, but none of that was recorded by Matthew. Instead the text noted their obsession with stars and ignorance of messianic prophecy.
The evangelist’s was not so much to associate these travelers with a town or ethnicity as it was with a religion … one that was neither “Jew”, “Samaritan”,  “gentile”, or any other category common to Hebrews under Roman occupation. Like the Jews themselves, 1st century Zoroastrians were scattered across the known world, so in a phrase Matthew captures both their status in their religion (Magi, i.e. priests in Zoroastrianism) and their country/empire (from the east, i.e., somewhere under Parthian control). 

Since moving into he New Year, a fun topic is exactly how long it’s been since the nativity. Useful Charts has a nifty presentation. (Hint: you’ll a +/- 5 in the answer.)

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am sorry I did not see this earlier. Thanks Qwazse for the thinker.

In my duty as a Jamboree Chaplain,  I would sit  in the "Relationships"  pavilion (title is changed with the particular Jamboree) and would be available for Scouts to come and at least get THIS checked off for their Jamboree scavenger hunt requirement.  I regularly had discussions with Scouts who would open with "oh, I  don't get this God stuff." 

Magi?  Wise Guys?  Princes?  The ultimate question that is never answered in scripture is what did they do AFTER they left their gifts and worship?   

Our Scout District is blessed with active Jewish Scouts (of at least three  varieties), many Christian flavors (including the occasional Quaker), and some Muslim Scouts.  All find room in our tents.  

Oh, did I tell you a young member of my Meeting earned his Eagle last fall?   I may tell you about his project in our 250 year old graveyard sometime.... 

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