Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today’s text

Matthew 2:1-6

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.' When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'At Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet wrote: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.'


Great and small, all are swept into the drama of your fleshly becoming, Jesus.

What could the wise men possible want with you? The comfort of their studies kept them close to home and the instruments of their observations. Certainly, they had seen signs in the heavens before that required careful interpretation.

Why does this sign demand departure from their charts and books on a difficult journey? They came to give homage, but what did they expect to see and receive? What illumination did they seek? The wise and discerning are always looking for greater light and understanding.

Were they to find this in a peasant’s child, said to be some kind of king? But born in a barn? Is this the place of wisdom, in smallness and poverty, far from the seats of power where real rulers command and shape the lives of common souls?

But this is where you seem most at work, Holy One, far from the places where we look for significance--or seek it for ourselves. You are there, in the out of the way and the common, asking for our homage.

Kneeling amid the straw and the manure of the average has become the way of wisdom, the road of true understanding and peace.

So we re-enter our dailiness following the holy feast, tired and hoping to return to normal, so that we might get some sleep and right the ship of our lives. But the common places, the office, the workplace, the usual struggles, the difficult faces, look different than before.

Perhaps they are as depressing as ever--or more. Yet these places are the stable, the manger where you lie, awaiting the homage of our loving attention, so that you may teach us the wisdom of gentleness, the understanding that peace begins here, in the places we prefer to flee.

For earth itself has become the straw in which hides holiness and true illumination of soul. So we give ourselves again to the small duties of our days, doing them as to you, praying that such homage will illumine our hearts with the light of your love, laid always in the straw.

Pr. David L. Miller

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