How can we stay on the right path, O God
when we are waylaid by distractions
and by discouragement,
when we are lured
by the notion of comfort
How can we keep on travelling
In new directions
by different routes
that take us down roads
we would rather not discover?
You promise us little
in the way of material reward.
You simply beckon
and expect us to follow.
It's not easy to be faithful,
to keep on going.
We like to have the end in sight.
We are risk averse.
But every journey we make with you
is fraught with uncertainty
besieged with challenge.
Lord, grant us determination
to stick it out
assured by the knowledge
that you match your stride to ours.
Liz Crumlish, Castlehill Parish Church, Ayr
The Magi visit the Messiah
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:
‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”’
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.