Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. He told them “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.” The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star. When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They’ took out their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
Reflect on the word COURAGE for a few moments.
The wise men walked away. They didn’t stop to confer, take a vote and look for consensus before they took another road. They had the courage to take a risk. They risked angering Herod when they disobeyed his orders.
Risk-taking needs wisdom, courage and action. Would we have the courage to act when we hear cries for help coming from a neighbor? Have the wisdom to speak the right words when we find ourselves in a sexist or racist conversation? To offer our help to a young mum at her wits end with a distraught child in a shop? Often we do know what we should do, or what action we’d like to take. Taking the first step could be a risk, so we hold back or look the other way.
The wise men listened to the words of Herod and took a risk, so a baby and parents would be safe.
Give me the wisdom, God, to know what risks I should take for you. Give me the courage to act according to your will.
© Ranjini Wickramaratne-Rebera
For a number of years, our dear friend Ranjini Rebera wrote Biblical reflections for the use of Gungahlin Uniting Church and others, usually for Advent and Lent. We were privileged to receive these, as Ranjini had a working history of writing and teaching on a global stage. Each time she completed the considerable work on one of these studies for us she would announce firmly, ‘That’s it. That is the last one I’m writing. No more. End of story!’ But as Advent or Lent came around again she would start hinting that she’d had an idea for a reflection – and she would write another one.
When she completed a Reflection for Lent 2021, we were not to know that this really was the last one. Ranjini died on 13 October 2021. We miss her intellect, her leadership, her vivid personality, her artistic gifts, her deep faith and her pastoral heart. We have lost some colour from our world.
The Gungahlin Uniting Church Worship Team, where Ranjini served for several years, offers Ranjini’s study material, first produced in 2015, as we give thanks for her life shared among us.