Monday Matters (January 6th, 2014)


Reflections to start the week
Monday, January 6, 2014
The Feast of the Epiphany

Searching for Joy

A poem once offered as sermon in reflection on the gospel for the day (offered below).

If I could meet the magi,
The question on my mind:
What made them take that road trip?
What did they hope to find?

Assume their lives were comfortable.
It paid well to be wise.
They spent their days at camel chase.
At night they scanned the skies.

They knew the stars like back of hand.
They’d studied well and hard.
Advanced degreed astrology,
In school, they got gold stars.

Another way to ask it:
What was it they were lacking?
Was there some royal restlessness
That sent them westward packing?

One eastern night when moon was hid
And stars were shining bright,
They wisely cast a glance above
And spied a different light.

Next night the same, but brighter still.
Where did that star come from?
How could they have been missing it?
And had it been there long?

Mounting camels, off they went
Following that light.
No need to go to mapquest.
The star would steer them right.

I’m sure you’ve heard the gender jokes
How men can’t ask directions.
Not so for these astrologers:
They made a course correction.

By calling on a colleague.
King Herod, deemed much wiser.
They asked if he would point the way.
He called in his advisers.

Who searched the scripture for a text
To pass along to them.
They told the Magi where to go
“Head straight for Bethlehem”

We each are like the magi.
I wonder if you know it.
(Though you may think it less than wise
for priest to pose as poet)

Our lives become predictable.
We live out our routines.
But then a light makes us look up
And restlessness creeps in.

We realize then we’re seekers
For things that fill the bill.
Will money make us happier?
Relationships fulfill?

We sometimes shop at Herod’s
(the king, and not the store)
To see if power fills that place.
We’re always after more.

If we could just work harder.
The next promotion reach.
If we could just act better.
And practice what we preach.

What are you seeking in your life?
Is search for joy your quest?
Have you a clue where it is found?
Or where it’s best expressed?

A search for joy can lose its way
When clouds obscure the star.
And pain of life can hide the light
And then we don’t get far.

Our search for joy can get bogged down,
Get gridlocked spiritually.
Our lives get in a traffic jam
There’s no green light to see.

We focus on what others have.
But what we fail to do
Is seek for joy by looking up
By looking for what’s new.

What’s new is represented
In Bethlehem’s young boy.
That’s where we find an answer
If we’re really seeking joy.

Like those kings who made that trip
And left their status quoing.
There’s new life to be found by all
If we will start let going.

Let go. Let God. Our travel tip.
Let star become the guide.
And know that when we take a step
We go with God beside.

We each are on a journey
One guided by the Spirit.
It sometimes is a bumpy road.
It’s sometimes hard to steer it.

But the journey is a gift itself
When made by me and you.
When traveling with other folks
We come on something new.

A life we’d not expected.
Grace that helps us cope.
Light that shines in darkness.
Amid the cold night: Hope.

Community in loneliness.
A place to bring our gifts.
A common spirit traveling.
A star that spirits lifts.

It’s possible to travel far
And never leave this place.
A journey of the spirit
Starts with a step toward grace.

The biggest trek can be one step
Of welcoming God’s love.
Of worshipping with eyes raised up
That’s how we start to move.

Our world requires magi,
Needs wise folk seeking love
Who look beyond the glitter
To see a star above.

So let’s head back 2000 years
To what these magi teach us.
Across the miles, across the years
Their witnesses still reach us.

We find the magi traveling.
The Exit: Bethlehem
They’re slouching in their camel seats.
The next step’s up to them.

They’ve traveled far. They’re tired.
They’ve quarreled just a bit.
Go right. Go left. Head north.
Head south. But it was worth the trip.

For when they met the infant king,
Entitlement surrendered,.
They offered gold, incense and myrrh
The best they had to tender.

The star they followed led them
To child they now adore
The one they flood with presents
Has given them back more.

It all made sense, so quickly clear
The reason for those miles
The search for joy now ended
With holy family smiles.

It all made sense in worship
They found it filled their needs
And when we worship Christ child king
Our search for joy succeeds.

This ending a beginning
Move ahead they must
They headed home another way
Left Herod in the dust.

Their story teaches lessons still
Through years more than 2k
It teaches us to move ahead
Go home another way.

Go forward from the place you offered
Gift on bended knee.
Go forward to the journey next
Based on Epiphany

Go forward based on glimpse of light
That guides when dark surrounds.
Go forward on your journey.
There’s more joy to be found.

written by Jay Sidebotham 
and offered with apologies to real poets everywhere.

Matthew 2:1-12 

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: `And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. 


Jay SidebothamContact:

Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.


1 thought on “Monday Matters (January 6th, 2014)

  1. Lisa

    Thank you for such creativity. I like this part best “It teaches us to move ahead
    Go home another way.” I never looked at it quite that way before. I will have to consider that this week in prayer.

Comments are closed.