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  • Writer's picturePhil



IF WE CHRISTIANS would join the Wise Men,

we must close our eyes to all that glitters

and look rather on the despised and foolish things,

help the poor, comfort the despised,

and aid the neighbour in his need. Martin Luther

THE MAGI were also intellectuals,

students of the stars and seekers after truth.

It took the learned sages somewhat longer

than the unlearned shepherds to find their way to Bethlehem,

but they got there in the end. John Polkinghorne, Living with Hope

THE MAGI didn't return to the Orient

by the same route they arrived on.

Learn from the past.

If you want to change your life,

then change your way. Saint Augustine

THE THREE KINGS had only a rumour to go by,

but it moved them to make that long journey.

The scribes were much better informed, much better versed.

They sat and studied Scriptures like so many dons,

but it did not make them move.

Who had the more truth?

The three kings who followed a rumour,

or the scribes who remained sitting with all their knowledge?

What a vexation it must have been for the kings,

that the scribes who gave them the news they wanted

remained quiet in Jerusalem!

'We are being mocked', the kings might have thought.

For indeed what an atrocious self-contradiction

that the scribes should have the knowledge and yet remain still.

This is as bad as if a person knows all about Christ and his teachings,

and his own life expresses the opposite.

We are tempted to suppose that such a person wishes to fool us,

unless we admit that he is only fooling himself. Søren Kierkegaard, Meditations from Kierkegaard

WHERE CHILDREN wish upon a star

for wise men scan the universe in hope

et your bright beams surround their dreams

and guide their hesitating feet

to where a miracle is born. David Jenkins, from prayer in The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers,


Lord in the day

Lord of the sunrise,

we give thanks for this new day,

the birth of a child,

for the break of day,

for the opportunities ahead of us;

for energy and enthusiasm,

for the challenges of a new day,

Lord of the noonday,

we give thanks for the ability to work,

and pray for those who are

unemployed or redundant;

for all we can achieve,

for unrealised potential.

Lord of the sunset,

we remember those who have died this day,

and all for whom this day has been full of sadness.

for all who have inspired us, for our loved ones

whom we love but no longer see.

Lord of the night,

we give thanks for rest and refreshment,

for all your love and care,

for the promise of a new day.

David Adam (abridged)

O Heavenly Father,

we pray thee for those suffering in this pandemic.

Give them the victory of trust and hope,

that they may never lose their faith in Your loving purpose.

Grant wisdom to all who are working

to end the grip in which Covid has the world;

and grant us the faith that through You

all things are possible.

We ask this in the Name of him

who went about doing good

and healing all kinds of disease,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

George Appleton (abridged)

Hasten the time, Lord, when no one shall live in contentment

whilst knowing that others have need.

Inspire in us and in people of all nations

the desire for social justice,

that the hungry may be fed,

the homeless welcomed,

the sick healed,

and a just order established in the world,

according to your gracious will

made known in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

George Appleton.

Prayed at Assisi, October 1986

We pray that we and all men and women

may firmly exclude violence as a solution

to personal, community and world problems,

that every human being may reject everything

that could lead to conflict,

offering instead human understanding,

tolerance, mutual respect and reconciliation.

We pray that we and all our fellow human beings

may grow in respect for human dignity and its inalienable rights;

may we use our liberty with scrupulous care

not to infringe the rights of others,

having a practical concern for their needs

and facing life together with mutual respect,

understanding and unfailing hope.

Pope John Paul II and other Faith Leaders

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