Monday, January 20, 2014

Shed a Little Light

As I write, our nation is observing the holiday celebrating the life and ministry of Martin Luther King, Jr. I keep a picture of him preaching in my study.

The picture reminds me of the power of the gospel, and those willing to live and die for it. It reminds me of the life-giving importance of living a dream, when the dream is a God-breathed vision of the kingdom of God ushering into our world. It reminds me of the power of courageously taking up the cross for what is right and good, despite the cost. So many saints have gone before us to stand for truth and justice.

I was born in 1965 in the throes of the Civil Rights Movement, so I don't remember a time when I didn't know his name. I am still surprised in church work when I encounter children who know more about him than his namesake, reformer Martin Luther. He is a hero of our culture, no doubt.

Yet we have a long way to go still to heal the wounds of the deepest and oldest sin of our nation, racism. I pray for the dream to continue to compel us.

As a son of the South, a descendant of confederate soldiers, and a Birmingham native, this is close to my heart. I have signed the Birmingham Pledge and manage a Facebook page promoting it. I sponsor the online Findagrave memorial for Fred Shuttlesworth, companion of Dr. King from Birmingham. And on a personal level, I commit myself to building bridges however I can.

I am also of the James Taylor generation, so I share with you today the text of one of his songs that rings through my head today thanks to the Facebook post of a friend. Let us remember those who stand for what is right, with compassion and commitment. They embody the ministry of Christ.

"Shed A Little Light"

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the earth.
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood,
That we are bound together in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong.
We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead.
We are bound and we are bound.

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist.
There is a hunger in the center of the chest.
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist.
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest.

Shed a little light, oh Lord, so that we can see, just a little light, oh Lord.
Wanna stand it on up, stand it on up, oh Lord,
wanna walk it on down, shed a little light, oh Lord.

Can't get no light from the dollar bill, don't give me no light from a TV screen.
When I open my eyes I wanna drink my fill from the well on the hill,
do you know what I mean?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year Inspirational Quotes

As I write on the day of Epiphany, January 6, I am pondering the ways that we are called to be people of the light and to carry the light of Christ’s presence into a new year. This is always an exciting time, full of possibilities.

One of the ways I have been celebrating the change into the year 2014 has been to collect some inspirational quotes and share them on Facebook and Twitter. Here they are, in hopes that it helps you move into the new year with courage and grace.

Transformation is something we more easily see in the rear-view mirror than out the side window.” – Barry Pearman

Faith is to believe what we do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. St. Augustine

“The great miracle of Christianity is the Incarnation … Every other miracle prepares for this, exhibits this, or results from this." CS Lewis

"The fact of Jesus' coming is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares." - William Barclay

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul. - G.K. Chesterton

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy ... shall form an invincible host against difficulties. -H. Keller

“Be true to yourself. When something feels wrong, it probably is. Cut your course and stay with it.” – Byron O’Quinn (my wise father-in-law)

"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." - Rainer Maria Rilke


Pictured is a photo of my favorite Howard Thurman quote as I saw it in a coffee shop in New Orleans.