After Christmas, Year A

Musical Reflection
Yearn by Pádraig Ó Tuama

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Invocation

God of the refugees,
sharing the exile road
with all who flee
the violence that enslaves and kills:
as your Child sought asylum
in a foreign land,
make us ready to welcome the refugee
and receive from her
a new language of life and hope;

Hidden God,
who made the face of Moses shine
with the gift of your friendship:
teach us the law of love,
carried by the breath of spirit
and planted in hearts of flesh
that we might be children again
and the world restored to you;
through Jesus Christ, Rachel’s child, the Glory of God.
Amen.

First Reading

Ghazal
 by Agha Shahid Ali

Feel the patient’s heart 
Pounding—oh please, this once— 
—JAMES MERRILL

I’ll do what I must if I’m bold in real time.
A refugee, I’ll be paroled in real time.

Cool evidence clawed off like shirts of hell-fire?
A former existence untold in real time …

The one you would choose: Were you led then by him?
What longing, O Yaar, is controlled in real time?

Each syllable sucked under waves of our earth—
The funeral love comes to hold in real time!

They left him alive so that he could be lonely—
The god of small things is not consoled in real time.

Please afterwards empty my pockets of keys—
It’s hell in the city of gold in real time.

God’s angels again are—for Satan!—forlorn.
Salvation was bought but sin sold in real time.

And who is the terrorist, who the victim?
We’ll know if the country is polled in real time.

“Behind a door marked DANGER” are being unwound
the prayers my friend had enscrolled in real time.

The throat of the rearview and sliding down it
the Street of Farewell’s now unrolled in real time.

I heard the incessant dissolving of silk—
I felt my heart growing so old in real time.

Her heart must be ash where her body lies burned.
What hope lets your hands rake the cold in real time?

Now Friend, the Belovèd has stolen your words—
Read slowly: The plot will unfold in real time.

(for Daniel Hall)

 

Second Reading
Who am I, Without Exile?
by Mahmoud Darwish
translated by Fady Joudah

 

A stranger on the riverbank, like the river … water
binds me to your name. Nothing brings me back from my faraway
to my palm tree: not peace and not war. Nothing
makes me enter the gospels. Not
a thing … nothing sparkles from the shore of ebb
and flow between the Euphrates and the Nile. Nothing
makes me descend from the pharaoh’s boats. Nothing
carries me or makes me carry an idea: not longing
and not promise. What will I do? What
will I do without exile, and a long night

that stares at the water?

Water
binds me
to your name …
Nothing takes me from the butterflies of my dreams
to my reality: not dust and not fire. What
will I do without roses from Samarkand? What
will I do in a theater that burnishes the singers with its lunar
stones? Our weight has become light like our houses
in the faraway winds. We have become two friends of the strange
creatures in the clouds … and we are now loosened
from the gravity of identity’s land. What will we do … what
will we do without exile, and a long night
that stares at the water?

Water
binds me
to your name …
There’s nothing left of me but you, and nothing left of you
but me, the stranger massaging his stranger’s thigh: O
stranger! what will we do with what is left to us
of calm … and of a snooze between two myths?
And nothing carries us: not the road and not the house.
Was this road always like this, from the start,
or did our dreams find a mare on the hill
among the Mongol horses and exchange us for it?
And what will we do?
What
will we do
without
exile?

 

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Gospel Reading 1
Matthew 2:13-23

When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him.” Joseph got up and, during the night, took the child and his mother to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod died. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I have called my son out of Egypt.

When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. This fulfilled the word spoken through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and much grieving.
        Rachel weeping for her children,
            and she did not want to be comforted,
                because they were no more.

After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up,” the angel said, “and take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel. Those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus ruled over Judea in place of his father Herod, Joseph was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he went to the area of Galilee. He settled in a city called Nazareth so that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled: He will be called a Nazarene.

Gospel Reading 2
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word
    and the Word was with God
    and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
    and without the Word
    nothing came into being.
What came into being
    through the Word was life,
    and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.

A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.

The true light that shines on all people
    was coming into the world.
The light was in the world,
    and the world came into being through the light,
        but the world didn’t recognize the light.
The light came to its own people,
    and its own people didn’t accept it.
But those who did accept the light,
        those who believed in that name,
    were empowered to become God’s children,
        born not from blood
        nor from human desire or passion,
        but born from God.
The Word became flesh
    and stayed for a little while among us.
We saw the Word’s glory –
    glory like that of a parent’s only child,
        full of grace and truth.

John testified, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘The one who comes after me is greater than me because this One existed before me.’”

From this fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
    as the Law was given through Moses,
    so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
    God the only Child,
        who is at the Parent’s side,
        has made God known.

Musical Reflection
Foreigner’s God by Hozier

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 Prayer for the Displaced

from displaced campesinos in Peru

God, our promised land;
Christ, our way,
our journey has become long and hard
because we wander around like nomads
not knowing where to go.
We are strangers in our own land,
without bread, a roof, a future.
But you came to find us
with your life-giving breath.
You, who are also displaced,
have become an exile with us.
You offer us anew the promised land.
Your spirit urges us toward
that joyous homecoming.
Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Most compassionate Life-giver,
may we honour and praise you:
may we work with you to establish
your new order of justice, peace and love.
Give us what we need for growth,
and help us, through forgiving others,
to accept forgiveness.
Strengthen us in the time of testing,
that we may resist all evil.
For all the tenderness,
strength and love are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

 

Musical Reflection
Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run by Sufjan Stevens

 

 

Blessing

Bless to us, O Lord,
the earth beneath our feet;
bless to us, O Lord,
the path we tread:
our walk this day with the Creator,
our walk this day with the Redeemer,
our walk this day with the Spirit.

May the blessing of God – the Existing, the Living, and the Speaking,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Sonny Assu

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Yearn by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Poem Ghazal by Agha Shahid Ali

Poem Who am I, Without Exile? by Mahmoud Darwish

Musical Reflection Foreigner’s God by Hozier

Prayer from Psalms for Life and Peace

Lord’s Prayer by W Wallace

Musical Reflection Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run by Sufjan Stevens

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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