Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Happy New Year! A warm welcome to Rectory Musings in 2011. Things have been quiet here as I have been blogging on my Five Minutes' Space blog for Advent, but it is good to be back here.

To kick things off - below is a wordle of the Gospel reading for the Feast of the Epiphany on 6th January, which comes from Matthew 2:1-12...

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

I am struck in the wordle how the words Bethlehem, Herod, child and homage stand out. God's coming among us happens at a certain time, in a certain place, but in history. In this case, in Bethlehem. His coming among us happens not in majesty and power, but in the vulnerability and yet simplicity of a child waiting to be loved and to love back.

As VAT rises. As credit card bills arrive, as we struggle into January we have a choice still - to whom do we wish to pay homage? Herod - the people and institutions who exercise power amongst us, or this child - who offers us the riches and security we long for, deep down...

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