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Outward Bound

In his beautiful book Sounding the Seasons, Malcolm Guite offers sonnets for the seasons of the church, cleverly written, full of allusions and metaphor and remarkably comforting. If you are interested in knowing more about him, here is his website. He also reads his sonnets which you can listen to for even more pleasure!

Below is his sonnet for Epiphany which captures the story of the wise kings who were "Gentiles like us" and came searching for the Light, found it and were forever changed by us.

It might have been just someone else's story, Some chosen people get a special king. We leave them to their own peculiar glory, We don't belong, it doesn't mean a thing. But when these three arrive they bring us with them, Gentiles like us, their wisdom might be ours; A steady step that finds an inner rhythm, A pilgrim's eye that sees beyond the stars. They did not know his name but still they sought him, They came from otherwhere but still they found; In temples they found those who sold and bought him, But in the filthy stable, hallowed ground. Their courage gives our questing hearts a voice To seek, to find, to worship, to rejoice.

Guite suggests that the last line of his poem is a nod to Tennyson's great dramatic monologue Ulysses in which Ulysses describes his discontent and restlessness upon returning to his kingdom, but also his commitment to persevere. And indeed it is...see below

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

This comparison brings to mind the motto of the wonderful high adventure company Outward Bound..."To serve, to strive and not to yield!" Yes, it is almost the same... intentionally taken from Ulysses story.

Like Ulysses and the three great kings, we are forever changed by the challenge of following the Light, the perils of the journey not withstanding, we must "strive, seek, find, and not yield."

And we will forever be Outward Bound towards full union with Jesus Christ our Saviour, Son of God, Light Eternal.

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