Everyone knows the story of the three wise men and their visit to see the baby Jesus. Guided by a star they came to Bethlehem to worship the Holy Child and to give prophetic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Once they arrived they were overcome by the wonder of the event and fell down on their knees before the King.
How do you follow that? A problem that deeply affected the three of them. They had seen the future, touched the hand of God and, albeit for a brief moment, felt the love of the Creator.
Journeying back to their homes was a long and arduous trip with much time to contemplate how to give the rest of their lives meaning and purpose. What was it that they had experienced and how could they communicate this to others in a deeply troubled world?
After some debate it became clear that for a fraction of a moment they had felt true peace and love – deeper, wider and more glorious than anything they had ever experienced before. A peace which made them feel settled and full and a feeling of goodwill to everyone around, even when surrounded by war and hatred. If only they could pass this on to others. How could they spread peace and love and make use of the wisdom that they had built up over their years of study and debate?
It was on the road home that an idea came to one of them. They had been debating, quite forcibly, what to do and where to go. Opinions differed and the conversations became heated. Gaspar was all for hurrying home, Balthazar thought they should explore new areas of the world on the way and Melchior, the reflective thinker of the three, said that he didn’t mind which but that they should make a decision. In the end Melchior spent most of his energies acting as an intermediary between the other two, putting forward possible solutions, questioning their motives and trying to think of ideas that might keep both happy and engaged.
It was at this point that things began to take shape and focus. Our three wise men had all experienced conflict and seen what it could do to people and, what with their recent experiences with Jesus, it all seemed like something to solve as soon as possible. They came from tribal cultures and trying to solve things by force struck them all as the worst way of all. So, they concluded that they should devote their lives to conflict resolution – spreading peace where there was war and hatred.
It took time and effort and was not as easy as it appeared but, with dedication that was exactly what they did for the rest of their long and productive lives. They never forgot the peace and love they had seen and tried their best to use their great wisdom to help others wherever they went. They formed a special fellowship for those who wanted to follow their example and called it the “Mediation Association of Great Integrity”.
History refers to them as the Magi and their skills are put to use to this very day – for this we are all very thankful but few realise how their title was born!
ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator, Certified Accountant and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (former Chair of the East Anglia Branch), university lecturer and trainer and a member of the CIOT Dispute Resolution and Litigation working group.