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Image credit: J Cathcart

And you come from where?

Our text today advises us that we need to be careful not to despise those who hail from the small   and apparently insignificant hamlets. Ancient communities carry within them a wisdom and a heritage and indeed a knowledge of community that can never be replicated in larger urban communities. When it comes to preparing a Messiah, God chose a backwoods town called Nazareth. A town that was often the butt of jokes and discrimination. It seems to me that God favours the humble and less obvious and challenges those who might be swayed by influence and power to be careful who they put their trust in.

 

Lord,

Forgive me when I’m Influenced by 

The slick talker

The eloquent dresser

The impressive postcode

The brand manipulators

The power block persuaders

Give me the confidence

To take a deep breath

And think again

Help me remember

It’s very human to look on the outward appearance

But you look into our heart.

 

Create in me 

A clean heart 

Oh God,

And renew a right spirit within me

 

Lord,

Like the shepherds 

And the wisemen

Help me discover the glory

In the mud huts 

And the majesty 

In the fragile economies

And above all

Your Kingdom being born

In the hearts of the least of these

Your precious ones

For you truly find 

‘Gold in miry clay’

Micah 5: 2-8

2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
    who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
    from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
    to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth;
5 and he shall be the one of peace.

    If the Assyrians come into our land
    and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds
    and eight installed as rulers.
6 They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword,
    and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword;
they shall rescue us from the Assyrians
    if they come into our land
    or tread within our border.

7 Then the remnant of Jacob,
    surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like dew from the Lord,
    like showers on the grass,
which do not depend upon people
    or wait for any mortal.
8 And among the nations the remnant of Jacob,
    surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
    like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
which, when it goes through, treads down
    and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver.

 
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