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"Together We Serve" -- John 1:35-51 (Third Sunday After Epiphany)





This week, as I worked with this Scripture, I also kept returning to another sacred text –

a text that, this week, was new and fresh – a text, a poem, that, this week, infused so many of us with life and hope. On Wednesday, a little after noon in Washington, DC, amid the pomp and ceremony of the presidential inauguration – Amanda Gorman, America’s Youth Poet Laureate, stepped to the microphone and offered the nation her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”[1] She began with the question:


When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light

in this never-ending shade?


And from there, she named our experience – “we’ve braved the belly of the beast,” “we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation not broken, but simply unfinished,” far from polished and pristine – yet striving for a union with purpose. Amanda Gorman pointed us to a future built not by blade, but by bridge – pointed us toward the work of repair and “just redemption” – the rebuilding of a country

“bruised but whole

benevolent but bold

fierce and free.”


As the best words do, the best poems, the best sermons, the best books, the best of us – Amanda Gorman’s poem – and her speaking of it – embodied glimpses of answers to the question that she raised:


When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light

in this never-ending shade?


There is a question like that lingering in the air at the start of the Gospel of John – we know its poetry: In the beginning was the Wor