To curry favor. That phrase stuck out in today’s devotion. When I looked up the meaning of the phrase, I found that it comes from a French poem, Roman de Fauvel, written in the early 1300s. Fauvel was a horse — a conniving stallion, ambitious and vain, who deceives and corrupts the greedy leaders of his day. In the poem, the rich and powerful come and humiliate themselves by bowing down and stroking the coat of this false leader. The verb ‘to curry’ means to brush and clean a horse’s coat hence the phrase to ‘curry Fauvel’. By the 1500s the phrase had changed to ‘currying favor’ which still meant to gain favor by flattery, fawning or groveling.
Now I may not be the smartest theologian but I do not think that approach would be successful with our God. Our God wants authentic and heartfelt tribute, not flattery or groveling which is always intended to buy us something – not to give God something. And we do not have to grovel or flatter to get God’s favor, it is freely given.
Maybe when the Magi started out to meet the new king, that was their intent because that is what most rulers desire – flattery, fawning and groveling. But we serve a very different kind of ruler. And the magi must have sensed this because when they arrived, they did not flatter or grovel, they paid the baby Jesus ‘homage’ – respect, honor, and worship.
May we all do the same on our walk to the cross with Christ.