What a dreary Monday morning! Hope you are cozy with your cup o coffee!
1One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders 2and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” 3He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: 4Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” 5They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”7So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
Last night Betty and I went to see Sweet Honey in the Rock perform in Portland. This is the one group that Betty has to see when they come into town so we went. They are truly a phenomenal group. These women sing everything acapella and with amazing harmonies, rhythms, and passion. No written music but totally feeding off of each other. Last night was their holiday concert. They started the concert by saying that this time of year is a good time of year to be intentional about peace, joy, hope and love and also to recognize that it is a time to be holy. They aren’t just a Christian group but spend much time singing gospel hymns and songs and they were clear that there would be much more of that last night. Sweet Honey is known for their songs of justice and peace.
My favorite song of the evening is the song I linked this morning to you. It is called “We Are” and last night it took on new meaning for me. The group talked about how Jesus came in the form of a child beneath a star. That child was sought out and given many chances in the world. This child named Jesus was protected and marveled at and was given the chance to connect with us. On that note, shouldn’t every child have that chance because we are all one? Shouldn’t every child be protected and full of hope? Shouldn’t every child be given the chance to thrive and to connect back to the community? The first line of the song says, “For each child that’s born a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.” Each child sees the stars and each child needs to the chance to realize we are all connected.
Jesus, later on, in his ministry was challenged over and over again about his origins and how he got to be the Son of God. In fact, in this Luke scripture, he is challenged about his authority. Like Jesus does, he flips the question to a question about where John comes from, or more pointedly where his baptism comes from. In our minds (or at least in mine), I think “well, from God…duh” but it gets more complicated for them. In the end, I think the reader knows that our birth, our baptism, our community, our star, all come from God and we should be protecting that for others. For the children entering the world, let us recognize that they all come from God.
This morning I will head out pretty soon to read with kindergarteners through the SMART program. I get to do this every Monday morning. I get to read with up to nine kids each week. And each week I say to them, “It is soooo great to see you this week! I am so excited to read with you!!” Then we talk about their weekends and what they are interested in and then they get to pick books to read. I love it. I can also tell which kiddos are told that they are full of potential and which kiddos never hear it. I am encouraged by the kiddos who are ready to be creative and loving and my heart aches for those who are hearing otherwise…so it is partially my job just for 20 minutes on a Monday morning to say, “you have a star that rises just for you and we are connected.” Where will you encourage the potentials in your life this morning?
Prayer: O God, for each child we are thankful. We are thankful for the reminder that the Messiah will come in this form and thankful for what will be in each little being as we are all connected in this crazy world. Let us recognize you in all that we meet and sing out the songs of love and justice. Amen.