Sunday, January 7th 2018
By: Rachel Lyons
We hear these words today in our first reading, a call to move with the Spirit in honor and worship of our God who deeply loves and deeply commits to us. Not only are we called to rise up, but Isaiah says, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” Rise up in splendor – with all you have, with all your joy and pain and confusion, with all the darkness within and around you – rise up and offer it all to the light. And the call goes out to all of Jerusalem, not just this person or that person. It’s not about individuals or competition for worthiness. This is a collective cry for action, for justice, for liberation. It is a call to enter the heart of God as a whole community, where all belong, where all are held, where all are given according to their need. As I ponder this collective call, I think of the lines from the Hamilton song – “Rise up! When you’re living on your knees, you rise up/Tell your brother that he’s gotta rise up/Tell your sister that she’s gotta rise up!” Isaiah tells us to look to the people right next to us, the people in our midst, and to nudge them, to rise up together with our brothers and sisters – especially people who are made poor, who are pushed aside, who are intentionally left out. All the nations stream toward the Lord and all praise God in Isaiah’s powerful prophecy because God seeks the people we and our society too often leave out. God makes sure everyone is at the table. Today’s psalm proclaims, ” Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. […] For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.” (Psalm 72:7,12).
As we move towards Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day next week, I am incredibly grateful for a church community like Old St. Pat’s that is willing to work with other people of faith and rise up toward this vision of justice where all are at the table. We are honored to host the annual Faith in Action Assembly with Community Renewal Society right here at OSP on Monday, January 15, and Fr. Hurley, our staff, and our members will be out in full force. You won’t want to miss this! We’ll have energizing music, prayer, testimony, and a gathering of congregations from across Chicagoland. This year also features a Governor’s Candidate Forum with five leaders who seek to guide us answering our questions and sharing ideas for the common good. The morning will be a fantastic way to propel us into 2018 with renewed hope and strength for the journey.
I know we often extend invitations here at Old St. Pat’s. This is a special one not just to remember a pastor and a leader in Martin Luther King but also to RISE UP in our day, in our time, right now. We know we can do better than the poverty, systemic racism, homelessness, violence, and fear in our city and in our world. The fire that lights our soul within us tells us so. The fire tells us that our baptism blesses us with the responsibility to take our anger and frustration and hurt about the state of things and to move it towards transformation and positive change. And so we have the chance to gather in splendor, to sing, to pray, to learn, and to act as one body in Christ on January 15th and each day we are given. May we find courage in the fire that lights our soul to be free from fear, to be true to our faith, to rise up together. Let’s shout it from the rooftops.
Coming to MLK Day? The assembly is 8:30am – 12:00pm in the church here at OSP.
RSVP to Rachel Lyons – email@example.com