Traveling on the road of life is like traveling on the highway systems of America from one place to another. As you travel, you will see the countryside revealing the handiwork of God. You will see those purple mountains with their majesty across the fruited plains. You will see the great cities built by man. You will see beautiful trees that have been standing for hundreds and hundreds of years. You will see the desert, the Great Plains, the oceans, rivers, canyons, rolling hills, and much of the beauty of this earth. In the same way, when you travel on the highway systems of America, you will experience storm clouds, rainstorms, windstorms, snowstorms, floods, and blizzards and the road of life is filled with the same.
I will never forget the time my family and I were traveling through Missouri on Interstate 55 north. We noticed the clouds were dark and low. But our spirits were lifted when we noticed rays of sunlight piercing through those dark clouds making beautiful sunbeams that fell to the earth, lighting a path through the darkness. It was beautiful. For the rest of that trip, Elaine, Chastidy, Audrey, and I sang: A Sun Beam, a Sun Beam, Jesus wants me for a Sun Beam. A Sun Beam, a Sun Beam, I’ll be a Sun Beam for Him.
One of the great hymns of the church that helped shape my life and theology of purpose was written by Charles Albert Tindley, who lived from 1851 to 1933. He was known as a pastor, orator, poet, writer, theologian, social activist, ‘father of African American Hymnody,’ ‘progenitor of African American gospel music’ and ‘prince of preachers.’”
“Tindley wrote songs that interpreted the oppression African Americans faced as they settled in the cities of the North and admonish those who suffer the storms of life to stand fast in Christ. In the hymn that so many of us can Identify with he wrote:
Beams of heaven as I go, through this wilderness below,
guide my feet in peaceful ways, turn my midnights into days.
When in the darkness I would grope, Faith always sees a star of hope,
and soon from all life’s grief and danger, I shall be free someday.
I do not know how long ’twill be, nor what the future holds for me,
but this I know: if Jesus leads me, I shall get home someday.
The storms of life will come, but regardless of how great the storms and the darkness that comes too, the beams of heaven will break through the storm clouds reminding us of who God is and His gift of Grace to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
Let’s Pray, Holy God we come before you this morning, celebrating your sun beams that break through the storms of life as we travel on the road of life. We celebrate the testimony of the psalmist who said Your anger endured but a moment; your favor is life: weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.
Thank You God for allowing us to experience your favor and your joy breaking through the dark clouds of both night and day. In our thankful celebration, help us to be mindful of letting our own lights shine, the light we received from you, so that people surrounded by darkness in their day to day living, can see your light in us breaking through the darkness that engulfs them. We pray that they will rejoice and be glad, so they can give you the praise for being able to walk in your beautiful light where the do drops of mercy shine bright.
We know nothing is impossible for you, so we pray eternal father that you will give us wisdom knowledge and understanding, courage and strength to walk with our sisters and brothers in Christ in a unified intentionality to pierce through the dark cloud of hate, injustice, pride and evil. So that the part of the world we live in will be filled with Sunbeams breaking through the darkness of the clouds. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.