Monday, December 26, 2016


Had we the chance, we wold 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 treat, all the
             vulnerable who stand at risk
                   before 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."

Walter Brueggemann-Prayers for a Privileged People

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