One of the long-standing traditions of the church that I attend is the weekly men’s prayer breakfast held at the Alabama Power building in downtown Birmingham. Even though I’ve been attending First Church since 2005, I’ve only recently started to attend the prayer breakfasts in October.
I was asked early on if I would be willing to be the speaker for New Year’s Eve, meaning that I had all the time in the world to prepare a talk that would relate to the pending conclusion of the first decade of the 21st century and what it may mean for us. Those who know me from college probably immediately realize this means I was finishing the talk at 6:15 a.m. this morning – it always starts on time at 7 a.m.
The amount of time between finding out when I would be talking and determining how I would approach it just left me with too many ways to go. In the end, I only had to look to the song that influences the quote I have in the “tell us something about yourself” section of my Facebook profile (that’s located just under your profile photo).
I really can’t tell you how I did, but I figured that I could share a version of what I said here on the site this New Year’s Eve and see what it calls you to feel or think as we prepare to raise a toast to the challenges that lay ahead.
I hope that it causes some thoughts and discussion, regardless of your belief system, as you think about how that belief will play into the coming year for you.
Best wishes to you and yours as we ring in the New Year.
Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.
I will tell you right now that I am not a big fan of the film Working Girl – though I’ll admit to being a fan of both Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford. I’ve only been able to watch the film in bits and pieces in the more than 20 years since it was released and have never felt the need to go and see it on the big screen.
I cannot say the same thing about the movie’s anthem, the song “Let the River Run” written and performed by Carly Simon. It is New York’s hymn; it was originally given that title and it is interesting to note that it was written without any political or religious meaning behind it. Simon describes the song as being one that should describe the volatile nature of the city’s financial core.
I am proud to count myself as one of what I’ve been led to believe is a rather larger group of men who aren’t ashamed to admit that it’s one of those songs that can move them. I use it in playlists on my MP3 player for running. I’ve actually driven to my first day of work on three different occasions blasting the song at a reasonable level in the car. Those who’ve ever paid attention to the upper left corner of my Facebook profile under my photo will see a portion of the song’s first lines there for all to see at all times.
I tend to think that I do so since the song also shares a story of desire and hope. One portion of the song’s second verse has always stood out to me:
We the great and small
Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire
Through the dark’ning dawn.
There are times when we are blazing that trail of that we are not necessarily paying attention to what God has in store for us. In those moments we are always in such a rush to get to the finish line that we sometimes miss needed signals as well as opportunities to ask for help or assistance. We do enjoying running around from place to place without taking that moment to listen to what is being said to us in so many different ways.