Sunday, January 2, 2022

Skywatchers & Poets

By way of a Sunday Sermon, a former Provost of *x sent this in:

Warned of brigands, we did the last leg up from the Jordan ford at night.
It wasn’t just the star we followed; the trail is marked by past myriad feet
Trudging through history, theirs and ours. To Babylon enchained, the plight
Of captives, they first came to us; we sent most back long years ago. To meet
Again at Zion’s gate their offspring thus seemed strange. ‘We come in peace,’
I said, and our Chaldean speech was close enough. A coin was further grease;

They let us in. ‘What do you seek?’ an elder spokesman asked. ‘We seek a King,” A soldier heard and laughed: ‘They have a ‘king’—Caesar’s joke—proceed this way.”
The palace, unremarkable save for the surly guards, had a courtyard, something
Like a water trough, yet no one offered to stable our camels, even give them hay.
‘King’ Herod professed no knowledge of a royal birth, just arched his brow
And said his priests told him of Bethlehem the prophecy, urged us to go now

And seek the child there, then bear him directions so he could worship too.
We did not tell him all we knew, that long before the mystery star appeared
In our old library one of us had found a scroll, “God saves” by name. Through
Its tattered pages were mentions of a coming Jewish king, less to be feared
Than welcomed, “a light to lighten the Gentiles,” as they call us. Now light
Is what we scholars seek, wisdom, not merely order in the skies at night.

We read the texts and pondered much, and then one night a light arose
Such as we had never seen. Rotating not, it stayed; then grew and glowed
In the Western sky, brighter to our eyes each night. Balthasar proposed
We take it as the portent of a great event, even as their prophet showed
Would come to Israel. After a year to gaze and think we gathered gear, set
Out along the road and came slowly to that backward land. There we met

With such a contradiction, so it seemed, to everything one might expect.
But lo, the star grew brighter still, and once we were along the winding road
To Bethlehem, it slipped down the sky and waited there. You may reject
Our tale, and few would blame you, but hear the rest: the camel load
Of gifts we brought were suitable to a royal babe, but when we found
The very place it was a simple house and shop. We stopped. Around

Was not a single noble dwelling, yet compelled to look within we asked
The carpenter outside if he knew of an unusual birth nearby. He raised
His eyes aloft, and palms upraised spoke words we couldn’t catch,
Then paused as if to hear some far-off distant sound. Somewhat fazed,
We waited till at last he turned to us and softly said,“ The house is small.
I’ll bring Mary and the child outside. It will be better then for all.”

And so she came, her little one beside her, hand in hand; she smiled
But did not speak. “Many have come,” said the carpenter, “but none
So far away as you.” Immediately we were struck by her manner, mild
But assured as one accustomed to a noble state. She sat next her son
While Joseph fetched hay and water for our camels, bid us also rest.
He looked as any other child might look—except his steady gaze, lest

I forget, which made his face seem wiser than his years. After an hour,
With simple food and drink sufficed, we knew without a doubt some power
Was here, deeper than speech. I nodded to Melchior; he brought the sacks
And we than laid before them gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. “Lacks
You may have, but these should help,” I said. Mary was overcome with tears,
Joseph astounded-- grateful. The little child himself then spoke. Our ears

Distinctly heard the word “todah,” and then he smiled. We rose and went
Our way, but in a dream were warned, so bypassed that city on a hill, sent
Eastward by another way. Little was as we expected; much more was lent
In wisdom, grace and gratitude. Something great was coming yet, meant
To save the world, not as we would expect it, but in a mystery deeper far,
The weak and helpless shall achieve it. We were led to see it by a star.


We were led to see it by a star.

Ad Astra,



Wild, wild west said...

Per Aspera. We weren't promised easy.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Pretty good. Thanks.

LSP said...

WWW, whoever said it'd be easy? I recall no such promise :)

LSP said...

Thanks, Ed. I think it's a draft, but I liked it.