“Long Journey” – R.Cosedine, PVBM.
It has been a long journey,
this journey we have made together
from beyond the hills of morning
through valleys green and golden in the sunlight….
across the desert reaches
and over ridges steeper than we cared to climb.
There has been a touch of madness about it,
surely – or what seems madness –
for we came to the place strong in this holy company,
company of living faith, open the treasure
Give all – pour it out.
This is no time for calculation,
no time to ask for guarantee or safe return on our investment –
let love alone be the measure
for we have further yet to journey.
We must travel lightly who follow the star
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.
The Journey of the Magi: T.S.Eliot
"'A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.' And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down
to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line,
smelling of vegetation; With a running stream
and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse
galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern
with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door
dicing for pieces of silver, and feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information,
and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory. All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death."
Seek the well-being of the city
to which I have sent you.
Pray for it to God.
For in seeking its well-being,
you shall find your own.
The prophets called upon the people:
Raise your eyes and look about.
Your heart shall overflow at what you see.
Places we go are often only lit by the light of faith.
Like the Magi, our search pushes us onward to look for the holy,
to understand the promise of the One who calls us forward.
It is ours to follow the star, expect the light, bring the hope –
all the gifts we have to give to the city.
The great symbol of the Epiphany
The people who walked in darkness
and waiting in fear
now see a great light:
Mary and Joseph,
the townspeople, the Magi;
we will never be left in darkness.
This day is the beginning of the story
that leads everyone to the great Paschal Mystery of Easter
when we pray that the “light of Christ rising in glory will dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.”
And one by one, whether it be Epiphany or the Vigil of Easter,
our call is to pass the light to each other.
We have come as from afar. Let us sit side by side, to share the same bread
drawn from the same source to quieten the same hunger. Let us share in spirit and in thought:
As we come together, let us settle into stillness... Slowly, ever so slowly, centre our minds and our hearts... Let cares and weariness fall away to the One who created us,
and loves us, and whose Spirit lives in us:
Let us take ourselves into the presence of the New-born King,
laying before him all we possess, our treasures, and our tarnished gifts:
Let us bow our heads in worship and in repentance:
For not being able to travel light
and for being bogged down by material consideration
All: Forgive us, loving Creator.
For the times when we have preferred the known
to facing the challenge of renewal.
All: Forgive us, loving Creator.
For being fearful of change
and failing to grasp the need for continual transformation.
All: Forgive us, and liberate us from fear and anxiety
A EUCHARISTIC PRAYER FOR EPIPHANY
The Lord be with you
All: and with your spirit
Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right to give thanks and praise.
We give you thanks, our God,
for making love evident since the beginning of time.
You spoke the Word, which displaced the darkness
of chaos with life-giving Light;
a Light which has nurtured creation;
a Light which has overwhelmed fear, powerlessness and evil itself.
You spoke the Word, which would once and for all dispel the darkness
of chaos; and through your love of us the Word became flesh
and lived among us, full of grace and truth. The angels carolled glory to you in the highest heavens; we join with them and with all people to praise your holy name:
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of endless love,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The angels sing of it,
we are blessed in it. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy God, as the travellers with their treasures
were overwhelmed with joy on finding Jesus,
so we are overjoyed to discover the depth of his love for us.
For Jesus showed his love for us most supremely
on the night that he was betrayed.
As he sat at the table and broke bread with his friends, he said: 'Take and eat; this is my body which is broken for you. Remember me each time you do this.' After they had eaten, he took the cup, and said:
'Remember me as you drink from this, for it is my life,
poured out for you - the beginning of a new relationship with God.'
Send the power of your Holy Spirit
upon these gifts of bread and wine, O God,
that we may experience the presence
of the Word-made-flesh - Jesus Christ.
Breathe your Spirit in us that we may be one body with him –
living out his ministry in the world today and every day.
This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen