Daily Worship


January 01, 2020 0
Image credit: Jo Penn

Matthew 2: 13-23 (NRSVA)

13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 ‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’ 21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’

Wrap the child, Mary, 
take him up now.
This time an urgent dream.
That angel came to me again — another shock.
My heart pounding as I tasted dirt,
bowed before the Messenger from God.
The ground shaking with force of wind
heralding his arrival. 
Hiding my eyes from the brightest glare,
going through the formalities of greeting,
it doesn’t get easier. 
And yes, of course, I’m afraid.

For his message came true — the child is here,
and like no other I have ever met.
‘Born of the Holy Spirit’ — 
no one can say he looks like me.
Interested in everything,
appreciating how the birds fly
and source their food.
And such a child of joy.

Gather your things, Mary,
our lives are at stake
if we don’t go now.
Away from the soldiers
Herod will send for this child.
We must flee back to Egypt —
that route of our ancestors
From the land of the free
to the land of slavery.
We hide there.

Cover your face, Mary,
against this burning sun.
We must take the road
to that place of oppression,
not the best place to be
given our nation’s track record.
Let us believe the Lord’s word 
for He’s done miracles before:
Pharaoh’s daughter 
saved Moses
from another boy-child slaughter.

Show your tears, Mary,
in this pressure-filled time.
Other mothers cry too,
whilst we slip through the hills
on little-used roads,
for their sons will die
in the search for our child.

Let’s say a prayer, Mary, 
for them on the road
repeat it to stepped rhythm.
Believing the greatest good
lies in this sleepy child.

Come on now, Mary,
The road ahead waits.
We believed before and stepped out in faith.
It led to Bethlehem,
the angel-sung birth,
the shepherds and Magi
visited us here.

Remember it well, Mary,
remember it clear.
Two of us came,
and now 
we’re three.

Hold my hand, Mary,
let us set forth.
The tools of my trade
will make us a living.
Bring bread and bring wine,
food for the journey.
God is our refuge.
We are refugees.