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Join us on the Journey Of The Magi

Posted on: January 4th, 2020 by St. Bede Anglican Church

This Sunday we gather for the feast of Epiphany where we celebrate the visit of the Magi.  This Sunday officially concludes our Christmas season and begins the new season of Sundays after Epiphany. 

The feast of Epiphany is the bridge between the infant and the adult Christ, and we begin this week to contemplate what it means to begin to not only celebrate the incarnation of God, but recognize daily the full impact of what it means that God has come amongst us and how this revelation continues to challenge us and inspire us in our life journeys.  

I found inspiration this week in T.S Eliot’s poem – Journey of the Magi – and the complete unraveling that the journey and discovery of God has on the Magi (and also on Eliot himself – an adult convert to Christianity who was baptized and worshipped in the Anglican tradition).

The poem invites us to ponder the challenge of faith including what do we give up (die to) when we accept faith in Jesus and how does that bring us death and new birth?  

I include it below for your reading pleasure:

Journey of the Magi

T. S. Eliot

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“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.

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