What would it mean to live in a city whose people were changing each other’s despair into hope? You yourself must change it.– What would it feel like to know your country was changing? You yourself must change it.– Though your life felt arduous new and unmapped and strange what would it mean to stand on the first page of the end of despair? “Dreams Before Waking” By Adrienne Rich
Sunday we were blessed to have Rev. Judith Christopher as our guest preacher. She spoke eloquently, and through story, about Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:4-10), and our call to be prophets in this world. (For the full audio sermon, click here.)
All of the great prophets of the Bible – Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah – had excuses as to why they shouldn’t be chosen to be a prophet of God. Excuses are a great cover-up for fear. But God met them right where they were, didn’t take “no” for an answer, gave them strength for their task and promised to be with them. These people were asked by God to bring hope to the edge of despair. They were to help the people to change – themselves and their world. There are stories after stories of people who felt called to step out of their safe every day lives to bring an ounce of hope to others. They are wonderful examples of how one can overcome fear and obstacles to follow the Spirit of God, bringing wings of hope to the edge of despair. My guess is that there are many more untold stories of people who let their fears overwhelm them, who hid behind their excuses, and didn’t heed the call.
One of the stories that Judith lifted up was that of our own Sacred Journeys community. I’m truly grateful for that, because we don’t often get to see ourselves through another’s eyes. Judith reminded us that each of us has followed the call to (in the words of Gandhi) “be the change” we want to see in the church. Every one of us has stepped out of the relatively safe confines of the traditional church to put our time, money and energy into this crazy upstart of a community. We have dared to fly in the face of what is expected and, dare I say, “normal” to embrace something new and hope-filled.
And it is true that, just like Jeremiah, we don’t always know where we are going or where the Spirit will lead us in this adventure, but we are learning to trust. God is with us on the journey, of that I am certain.