Thought for the week, 7 January 2018

By Cheryl Hall

I wonder what would have happened if the wise men in today's first gospel reading had refused to accept the significance of the star leading them to Christ. Or crucially if after visiting the infant Lord they had failed to heed God's warning that they should not return to Herod or reveal Christ's whereabouts. They might have been reluctant to accept a dream as a channel for a message from God possibly thinking that He would more likely communicate in other ways or they might simply have believed that divine prompting if possible only happened to other, worthier people.

In our modern daily lives it is all too easy for us to make excuses: 'It's just my imagination'; 'He wouldn't/couldn't send a message like that'; 'It's just a coincidence' ,rather than for us to hear and respond to His voice—particularly if that voice is directing us to a course of action in accordance with bible principles that we would rather not take. Biblically God's warnings and messages come in myriad forms: dreams, visions, angelic appearances and miracles. As Christians do we believe that God is still prompting and guiding us today as he did in biblical times? Are we willing to accept that the growing sense of unease we might have about a particular course of action, the penetrating and timely wisdom of a friend or loved one or the words of a conversation overheard resonating at a frequency beyond coincidence might all be ways in which God is still guiding, prompting and speaking to us today or are we more inclined to search for a more 'rational' explanation? Our challenge as modern Christians is to be able to recognise, accept and respond to His voice.