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The magi at the empty manger

First voice


Now that we’ve found

that the manger is empty,

the child that was born

moves on with our limbs:

we bring the world’s riches

like gold, brightly shining

what will you do with them,

baby of Bethlehem?

 

Will we hoard them selfishly

in our own heaven,

squander them rashly

while pleasures remain,

or spend them lovingly

for friend and stranger,

trading our talents

for everyone’s gain?

Second voice

Now that we’ve found

that the manger is empty,

the child that was born

thinks on through our minds:

we bring the world’s prayers –

like incense, slow rising –

what will you do with them,

baby of Bethlehem?

 

Will we answer them selfishly,

taking our profits,

using them ruthlessly,

priming our power,
or hear them all lovingly,

each need embracing,

listening patiently

hour after hour?

 

Third voice

Now that we’ve found

that the manger is empty,

the child that was born

lives on till our deaths:
we bring the world’s hopes –

like myrrh, all embalming –

what will you do with them,

baby of Bethlehem?

 

Will we crush them selfishly,

scornful in judgment,

and scatter them recklessly

on winds of strife,

or sow them all lovingly

ground in endurance,

seeds of your suffering,

rising to life?


Written for the carol service at St John’s, West Ealing in 2017. 

Performed by three speakers each holding out a box representing one of the gifts, and placing them in an empty manger at the end of each voice.

Godfrey Rust, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for details of permissions for use.