Where was God at work in you or around you in the last day?
- Take a look back over your day or, if it makes more sense, the last twenty-four hours...where have you been? What have you done? With whom? How did it go?
- Notice where there was most life, light and energy. Notice where life drained from you.
- Where was God at work in you or around you in the last day? What gifts did the day bring? Was there a nugget of gold hidden in your day? Talk to God about what you notice.
Matthew’s nativity has the magi bring gold to Jesus, for this child is a king. Yet, the actual absence of luxury tells us something important about our God. The life Jesus will live will tell us even more. He chooses a way of humility.
St Paul reminds us of that humility of Jesus in his letter to the Philippians:
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Imagine our present world with all its problems and needs and hopes.
- Imagine our present world with all its problems and needs and hopes. Perhaps one area of need strikes you most.
- Now imagine that someone emerges with a hope, a plan, a way of putting things right. They have all the qualities needed to make this work. They have the vision and the realism to see it through. Use your imagination to see this person... what they look like, their clothes, their demeanour, their home... Listen to them as they go about their life... What is their plan...? What is their project...? How are they going to go about it...? How do they speak to others...? What are their qualities, what is their style...?
- They have everything they need to inspire you to follow them. Can you say what those gifts are? Can you imagine following them, working with them, even though the situation will lead to hardship?
- Now imagine they are addressing a large gathering and presenting their project, and that you are in the audience. Listen to them, watch them. What appeal do they make? What words do they use?
- Then imagine everyone else has left but you. You sit alone. You wonder what kind of person could reject such an appeal. What kind of person would accept? What about me? Suppose I left too. What would that make me?
- After a while I move to part two.
Talk to God
- If someone such as I have been imagining could attract me so how much more could Jesus attract me?
- Imagine Jesus seated with his seventy-two disciples. They sit on a hill. Look at them. What do they see in Jesus that inspires them to follow him? Then look at Jesus himself. Take in how he dresses, how he holds himself, the look in his eyes, the tone of his voice. Could you be attracted to this man? What qualities would Jesus need to have for you to be inspired? What would his project have to be to catch your imagination? What does he dream that has the power to ignite your soul?
- Listen to him now. What would he say that could inspire you to want to give him your loyalty?
- Then consider that while anyone with any sense would want to follow this man Jesus some might want to follow him so closely in his enterprise as to be with him wherever he goes and whatever he does; to stand with him no matter what; to go with him and share his burdens and joys, his triumphs and failures?
- What do you want to say to that Jesus now?
Lord and Ruler,
Root of Jesse,
Key of David,
King of the Nations,
Emmanuel, Come Lord Jesus.