Pastor’s Blog – The Footsteps of Jesus
A Guide for the January 27 Worship Service
Scripture for this Week: Luke 4:14-21
Scripture for Next Week: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Howard Thurman is more than just a pastor. He is a prophet, a voice of God speaking truth to power, and offering a way of life for his people. Howard was one of the most powerful voices of the civil rights movement, and a mentor to Martin Luther King. He was a gifted writer, artist, and poet. This is his poem called “Now the Work of Christmas Begins.”
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
I had the pleasure of hearing Rev. Gerald Davis from Tulsa, Oklahoma reflect upon this poem while I was attending classes at seminary. He offered the perspective that the lost, broken, hungry, and prisoner are all people who are very close to us. We are surrounded daily by people who feel like they are lost, alone, adrift, desperate for a friend, but not knowing how to ask. In a similar way all of the adjectives listed in this poem and in the Scripture from Luke pertain to people we know or encounter on a daily basis.
One of the most powerful questions that Rev. Davis asked was, “We all know how to hand out food. But do we know why we need to hand out food in the first place? What is it about the way we have structured our communities, our society that allows us to accept a system that perpetuates hunger?”
We can just as easily ask, what is it about the way we choose to structure our lives and communities that creates people who feel lost, who are bullied, who are allowed to sit alone at lunch tables in our schools and our work cafeterias? Might those people also be considered broken, hungry, and imprisoned?
Perhaps the work of healing the nations begins with each of us choosing to make a concerted effort to touch the lives of strangers; not by just handing them food, but by getting to know them. Perhaps love is the food they need. Perhaps friendship is the glue that will begin to repair them. Perhaps our compassion is the key that will release them from a prison.
We all know that following in the footsteps of Jesus is the very definition of being a Christian. But did you know that when you step into one of his footprints a sound is made? Yes, actually a divine note is played. As the songs from the holidays become a distant memory and the calendar clicks into the second month of the year, the real work of Christmas begins. It is the work of creating a heavenly melody, a music of the heart that rebuilds our community, our nation, and brings peace to all who enjoy its lovely choruses, its glorious harmonies.
May you experience God’s peace.