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CHANGE, WITH A STEADY BEAT
November 8, 2008
 
Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.
Matthew 25:6


Calm down. The New Testament figure of the bridegroom is Christ. It's not our president-elect.

Still, even those who did not support Barack Obama recognize what this week's election says about how far our society has come, and the people who supported him are giddy with happiness. Everything is possible now, it seems. Change has come.

But change doesn't really come overnight. The first-century world was not visibly different the day after the resurrection from what it had been the day before. It was the same hard place it had always been. The Way opened gradually, as way always opens: one person at a time. One heart at a time. A series of small decisions for the good, made by many people many times over. They add up.

The story of what happened next in that new community continues, in the letters of Paul and others, and in the Book of Acts. There we read of many things: some inspiring and some, not so much. Not everything they tried worked -- as politicians often put it, mistakes were made. Not every leader was a good leader. Not everybody stayed. They didn't agree on everything. Not everyone liked everyone else. But the little band following The Way kept on walking. And we are here, still walking, because of them. Not perfect either, by any means, but always with the chance and the choice to start again.

In the end, how good will the new administration be? No matter how excited people are about it, it won't be perfect. I reckon it'll be about as good as we are.

+

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears have been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, Our God, where we met Thee;
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.
True to our GOD,
True to our native land

--James Weldon Johnson


Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 +Psalm 78:1-7 or Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16 or Amos 5:18-24 +Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20 or Psalm 70
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13


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