The church concludes the Christmas season today with the celebration of the Epiphany of Our Lord, and the gospel reading for this festival always recounts the visit of the magi to the Christ child. The poem in this post, by Malcolm Guite, offers a beautiful reflection on the meaning of this wonderful festival. This poem can be found in a book of poetry that I return to often, Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year. In this poem we are reminded that when the magi arrive in Bethlehem, they bring us with them. So that, “Gentiles like us, their wisdom might be ours.” Like the magi, we are Gentiles who have been gifted a Savior born for us all. Epiphany invites us to journey to the manger one more time, before all the trappings of the Christmas season are behind us, to seek, to find, to worship, and to rejoice.
Continuing my series of poems, prayers, psalms, and promises, here, then, is my poem, prayer, psalm and promise for the Epiphany of Our Lord.
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.
Scripture Reading – Matthew 2:10-12
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.
Devotional Poem: The Magi by Malcolm Guite
It might have been just someone else’s story,
Some chosen people get a special king.
We leave them to their own peculiar glory,
We don’t belong, it doesn’t mean a thing.
But when these three arrive they bring us with them,
Gentiles like us, their wisdom might be ours;
A steady step that finds an inner rhythm,
A pilgrim’s eye that sees beyond the stars.
They did not know his name but still they sought him,
They came from otherwhere but still they found;
In temples they found those who sold and bought him,
But in the filthy stable, hallowed ground.
Their courage gives our questing hearts a voice
To seek, to find, to worship, to rejoice.
Closing Prayer (Prayer of the Day for the Epiphany of Our Lord)
Almighty and ever-living God, you revealed the incarnation of your Son by the brilliant shining of a star. Shine the light of your justice always in our hearts and over all lands, and accept our lives as the treasure we offer in your praise and for your service, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen