The young Samuel responds to the Lord’s call by saying, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. Psalm 40 says “Here am I Lord; I come to do your will”. Andrew tells his brother Simon “Come and see, we have found the Messiah.”

On this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time the Word of God reminds us of the call we have received in our Baptism and Confirmation to follow Christ as his faithful disciples. We also celebrate this weekend the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr who accepted the call to be a disciple of Jesus, the call to be an ordained Baptist minister and the call to be a champion promoting the civil rights of all people. We commit ourselves to continue working to make Dr. King’s dream for America and for our world a reality in our time and place. We also unite in prayer for the new Biden/Harris Administration as they assume the awesome responsibility of being the President and Vice President of the United States in these challenging times.

There was an article in Wednesday’s issue of USA Today about U.S. Rep James Clyburn’s effort to introduce legislation to make “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, known as the Black National Anthem, to be designated a national hymn and give it a special place alongside the country’s anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This initiative obviously faces many challenges in the present politically divisive atmosphere of our country, but the congressman believes that in making it a national hymn, it could hopefully be an act of bringing the country together. The congressman said “The gesture itself would be an act of healing. Everybody can identify with that song.” Written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1899 and put to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson it was written during another tumultuous period for African Americans. Jim Crow laws were entrenched. African Americans were being lynched throughout the country. The song speaks of being full of the faith of that the dark past has taught us, and being a people who suffered the bitter chastening rod. It expresses a critical look at America while at the same time being optimistic about our present and future.

At this critical point in our history, when we face the challenges of defeating a worldwide pandemic, economic and social disparities, civic and racial unrest, we need to pray to the God of our weary years, the God of our silent tears, the God who has brought us thus far on the way. We need to pray that this God will lead us into the light and keep us forever in the path we pray. Shadowed beneath God’s hand, may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.