What the Heavens Said



David Walsh FAITH Magazine January-February 2008

I
The bright star signalling between the vista of trees on the
low horizon led us, with dromedarian footfall, through the
lonely, undulating sands. And the ascent through
bitter nights of cold, through months of knowing nothing but the halting
slowness of a journey against the snowy heights,
the trek by high mountain passes.

II
Weeks and months turning on the sundial, through
villages and towns indifferent to the stranger, not hostile,
inquisitive at most. And through the valleys, soft with vegetation,
along the meadowed waters, we witnessed the dawn
break upon us from on high.

III
That which had risen in the firmament pulsed with a definite life.
We have seen his star rise and have come.
We have seen his star arise...
And inside the city walls, the street bazaars and markets, men haggling over the rate of a day’s wage,
some, unable to work, unhired even unto the eleventh hour. But night would see torch lit streets and
our own procession to make inquiry of the king, the sign in the heavens to be pondered.
Uneasy city, why have we come? What cause to overthrow? Time to slip covertly through the eye of the
needle? I had not thought Life could unease so many.
The praetorian judgement will itself be judged in a time beyond our own, thrown down like a gauntlet on the smooth paving stones, a challenge to the future from the voices that will
eventually fade in the wind.

For the voice that was heard in Rama was the voice of Rachel
weeping, weeping, weeping for her children,
refusing consolation, because they were no more.

IV
Descending the palace rooftop steps, I stopped... half-glimpsing our own fate. No need to be a prophet
to see the writing on the wall. Is that what Nebuchadnezzar knew as he sat slowly down to the banquet
food, more palatable now than his future which had turned in his belly? He still had the appetite to
rule, but his life had been weighed in the scales. Consider! The sword never far from the king’s door,
for the blood of the innocent infants poured out like water.

And you Bethlehem Ephrata,

Least among those who reign,
Out of you shall come the Governance of the people.
We have seen his star arise...

Faith Magazine

January - February 2008