Thursday, December 26, 2013


Had we the chance, we would have rushed
   to Bethlehem
                           to see this thing that had come to pass.

Had we been a day later,
        we would have found the manger empty
                    and the family departed.

We would have learned that they fled to Egypt,
     warned that the baby was endangered,
    sought by the establishment of the day
       that understood how his very life
            threatened the way things are.

We would have paused at the empty stall
    and pondered how this baby
            from the very beginning was under threat.

The powers understood that his grace threatened all our
they understood that his truth challenged all our lies;
they understood that his power to heal
    nullified our many pathologies;
they understood that his power to forgive
    vetoed the power of guilt and
       the drama of debt among us.

From day one they pursued him,
    and schemed and conspired
    until finally....on a gray Friday......
            they got him!

No wonder the family fled, in order to give him time
                  for his life.

We could still pause at the empty barn--
   and ponder that all our babies are under threat, all the
   vulnerable who stand at risk
                       before our predators,
our babies who face the slow erosion of consumerism,
our babies who face the reach of sexual exploitation,
our babies who face the call to war,
    placed as we say, "in harm's way,"
our babies, elsewhere in the world,
     who know of cold steel against soft arms
      and distended bellies from lack of food;
our babies everywhere who are caught in the fearful display
      of ruthless adult power.

We ponder how peculiar this baby at Bethlehem is,
       summed to save the world,
                    and yet
we know, how like every child, this one also was at risk.
          The manger is empty a day later...
             the father warned in a dream.
Our world is so at risk, and yet we seek after and wait for
      this child named "Emmanuel,"
   Come be with us, you who are called "God with us."

Prayers for a Privileged People,  Walter Brueggemann

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