Posted by: njs44 | January 10, 2010

Three Kings ride again

Last week the Church celebrated the feast of Epiphany. I have trouble with the transferring of this feast as I maintain it should be on 6th January come what may, but that’s an argument for another day. Anyway, we duly sang our Epiphany carols, including We Three Kings and it was also a treat to sing the Peter Cornelius Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar, which I have known since I was yay high, as they say. [ in case anyone is not sure which carol I mean.]

The last part of this carol always seems to speak to me.

Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
The Kings are travelling, travel with them!
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
Shall lead thy heart to its resting place.
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
Offer thy heart to the infant King.

The sentiment is similar to the final verse of Christina Rosetti’s In the Bleak Midwinter, which is one of the nations favourite carols.

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him
Give my heart

Both speak of the need to carry on the message of Christmas in our ordinary lives. They encourage us not to put away the message when we put away the decorations and the tinsel and the cribs.

The feast this Sunday is the Baptism of the Lord, and recognises the start of Christ’s public ministry, the point from which he put into action the message of love which began at Christmas. As the booklet I have been using since the start of Advent (I am sorry, I do not know the author of this booklet, so I cannot acknowledge him or her) puts it

In him we see the truth of God. He also shows us the truth about ourselves, about our humanity. He shows us that love is stronger than hatred, that forgiveness is more life-giving than resentment, that giving is more fulfilling than taking, that belonging to others is better than isolation.

This suggests to me that we can do more than merely sing about offering our heart. We need to do the loving, the forgiving, the giving and belonging as we try to imitate Christ.

Also, because it is a shame to only sing it once a year, we sang Three Kings from Persian Lands again this morning.



  1. I thought it was illegal to publish something like that without putting the publication data in it

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