Reflections for

Epiphany of the Lord, Jan 06, 2018

Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12


A necessary slaughter


I must admit at first it threw me,
competing with a portent. (What fools
would treasure light instead of might?)
Such naïveté: Scholars trekking here
smitten with a star or some convergence
of the cosmos. Yet another fire to put out.

I sent them on their way, their caravan rife
with herbs I could have used myself. Camels
balking and desert horses restless
in the night. Meanwhile that star hummed
like a lute, vibrating on a frequency I coveted
but couldn’t always hear. I slammed the door,
closed the shutters. No way would it make
a shadow out of me. My wife said,

“No worries. They’ll be back.
Anyway, what child can match your currency,
your death squads? The bricks of that
new temple? And Rome behind you? Get real.”

I pulled her close, forgetting which wife
she was (nine? ten?) and glad to have her.
Weeks later, when those wanderers failed
to return, I glanced into my looking glass.
The eyes staring back at me were nothing
but blank gold coins.


Jesus Was a Migrant, by Deirdre Cornell, and Border Patrol Nation, by Todd Miller

Two new books on immigration complement each other well. And where Todd Miller’s falls short, Deirdre Cornell’s shines most brightly.


First day of creation

Let there be light! A flash, a bolt, a brilliant blaze
that puts the kibosh on chaos. Let light shine on width, breadth,
depth, a dazzle to illuminate all matter everywhere. Let it glint
gloriously off ocean wave, sea swell, a brooklet’s little ripples.

Let fish rejoice in it fantastically, the fur of fox, cat, cougar,
coyote be haloed. Let light’s hot pulse pull prairie grass, kinnikinnik
up, up to verdant growth, turn grain from green to gold.
In every garden everywhere let peonies, nasturtiums and

preposterous begonias unfold. Let every butterfly, bat, bird
bathe in radiance. Let it pour mornings into breakfast bowls,
fill empty cups to overflowing. At evening let light’s long plumes
linger: violet and vivid on every atom of creation.

When darkness closes in, shrouding the valley floor,
let sky be spangled still, lit with the glow of meteors,
the murky milky way, the white hot stars. O Light of life,
Light of the wobbling world: your splendor does not tarnish,

will not be overcome by random avalanche,
smart missile, guns, flood, smoke of forest fire.
Your warmth will melt the iron grip of fear.
A stone-cold guarded grave can never hold you.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.