It has been a cold, week with hard frosts evoking for me the opening words of the poem The Journey of the Magi by 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 journey is of course the journey and search for the new born King, Jesus and ends for the wise men in Bethlehem.
In this cold week I may possibly have met two such searchers, perhaps they have no consideration that they may be journeying or seeking, but I have had the privilege of witnessing The Lord meeting with them. There are lovely words in chapter 10, verse 21 of Mark’s Gospel “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Yes, I have seen Jesus looking at two young men and felt his reaching out in love.
The first, no more than a boy, came with a School Party and sat quietly by himself in the very last seat just inside the church… looking …. looking for what?
Looking up and seeing me, this young Asian man asked. “Is there a prayer book. Why don’t white people pray. No one,” he said in my class believes in God. No one prays.”
“Do you?” I asked.
“At the Gurdwara” he replied, and said that his mother said the prayers at home, he would like to say the prayers but was afraid that he might hold the prayer book in the wrong way, make a mistake. But he really did n’t understand why white people did not pray when God made us and loves us all. That was when I felt the love of Jesus for a young man of another faith.
What answer could I give.
I gave the answer that the spirit whispered, and gently asked our young visitor to follow me to the prayer desk in the lady chapel handed him the Prayer Book, showed him the prayers read every day and on the list, divided into days the day in the month when our vicar prays for his school, for him and his fellow students.
I have a feeling that he will come back led by a star.
The second searcher was older and came with a party of men doing Pay Back time for the Community under the supervision of probation services … what ever their misdeeds these people have worked hard and worked wonders in maintaining the churchyard, many have blessed and thanked them for their care of loved ones graves.
“What are the Oranges all about?”
“Ah. They are Christingles…. the orange representing the word, the four cocktail sticks the four corners of the world, or the seasons, the fruit and sweets the fruit of the earth, the red ribbon the shed blood of Jesus who died for all of us… the candle is Christ the Light of the World.”
“So that’s what it’s all about!”
One of the Christingles just blessed was put safely away in the van, a present for the children at home.
Advent is about seeking, searching … but who is doing the searching?
The sheep or the shepherd?
The ways deep and the weather sharp