On Pilgrimage to Worship

The text recounting the pilgrimage of the Magi is still relevant for us today. This group of wise ones paid attention to the light they did not fully understand and they courageously set out on pilgrimage to worship a King guided by a starlight. This starlight seems to appear and reappear, eventually hovering over the presence of Christ, where they were overcome with joy and responded by bending their knee in worship.

We too are on pilgrimage to recognize the presence of Christ before us. Right here. Right now. In this present moment. In what is in us and before us. It is a long journey often fraught with distractions, fear, shame, worry and harassment along the way. Yet the star still guides and the Christ is eager to be found by us.

God has chosen to make known...the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

 

Matthew 2:1-12 (NLT)
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
    who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

For Reflection and Prayer:

What did you hear as you listened or read the text? Did something particular catch your attention? Bring it into conversation with Jesus.

Give yourself room for the word to affect you. What are you feeling or sensing? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus.

Consider the starlight God has provided for you. Where has it led you in the past? What markers help you discern that this starlight is from God?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

Come and Talk with Me

Have you heard this invitation from God before? For some this is a welcome invitation to relationship and intimacy with God. For others this offer evokes fear and they run away and hide from God's presence and voice. Yet if we are the house in which God's Spirit resides, can we ever really flee from God?

God, give us courage to trust your presence in us and with us. Give us courage to talk over our deepest fears and shame with you. Make us brave and set us free to come to you.

Psalm 27 (NLT)
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—
    the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
    he will hide me in his sanctuary.
    He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
9 Do not turn your back on me.
    Do not reject your servant in anger.
    You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
    O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path,
    for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
    with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

For Prayer and Reflection:
What word(s), phrase or picture comes to mind as you listen to the passage? Bring this into your conversation with God.

Is there one thing you want to ask of the Lord at this time?

What is it like for you to "come and talk with" God? How does God listen and speak with you? How do you listen and speak with God? What has your conversation about in this last week?

How does God help you wait patiently for God? How does prayer help or hinder your waiting?