You can listen to this week’s Devotional here
Author: Amy Voida
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it,
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
From “The Hill We Climb”
The 2021 Inaugural Poem by Amanda Gorman
January 2021. Ten months into the black hole of the pandemic. For me, that meant ten months of meeting or teaching over Zoom in my home office for two hours, then swapping working shifts with Steve and going downstairs to be with Natalie and Hazel (one was attending fourth grade over Google Meet and the other was experiencing a rather haphazard preschooling in our living room). After Steve worked for two hours, we swapped back. Over and over again. Every. Single. Day. It really did feel like a black hole—an interminable one.
It was also a time when I felt like I had no control over anything. That person in the grocery store who wouldn’t wear a mask? Too bad. No control over that. A string of catastrophic droughts, wildfires, and tropical storms caused by climate change? Too bad. No control over that, either. Black men murdered in the streets? No control over that. Terrorists infiltrating our houses of government? Nope. Not that, either.
Where was the light in that interminable black hole? And how was I supposed to make a difference when it felt like I had no control over anything anymore? Enter: the poetry of Amanda Gorman. “For there is always light… if only we’re brave enough to be it.” How I needed to hear that in January 2021.
And how I keep needing to hear it, with so much of the world around me still in a shambles. Wars in Europe and the Middle East each causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Over a hundred million humans forcibly displaced from their homes around the globe. Systemic physical harm perpetuated on minorities and women—even by those we should be able to trust to protect us. Can someone please say it again? “For there is always light… if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
That is our calling, isn’t it? To be the light of the world? Howard Thurman called it “The
Work of Christmas”:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
That sounds an awful lot like the kind of work that the world needs now… if only we’re brave enough. Blessedly, we don’t have to be brave enough on our own. Thank God for communities that come together to care for each other and for the world around them. Because together, as one of those communities, we can all bravely be an even brighter light in the world.