I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every person is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind—
Of such I dream, my world!

from "I Dream A World," by Langston Hughes

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"You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way. You will tell his people how to be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.”

Luke 1:76-79

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During my time of service at Saint Hilda’s House in Connecticut, our program had a motto that has stuck with me ever since: “Through the gates and into the city.” It might help to know that the house and church where we lived was surrounded by an iron gate, but the meaning of the motto for me is not that literal. To me it meant that our gifts are not meant to be wasted, being preserved for our friends and families. For our gifts to be truly realized we need to get out of our comfort zone (go through the gates) and put our faith on the line. It might not always feel safe or fun — but the work we are called to do as Christians isn’t necessarily safe or fun.

Today we hear the last words of Zechariah’s prophecy about John preparing the way for Jesus. He tells that Jesus would be a light to those sitting in darkness. That light would have been wasted if Jesus never left his house. We must not waste our gifts and our light on ourselves. We must take them to those who need them most.

Will Oxford

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Lord, your son Jesus was a glorious light in this world. Let me be a reflection of that light in my own life and work. Amen.

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The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Will Oxford

Will Oxford currently lives in New York City with his wife, Heidi. He is a proud native of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 2013 with degrees in History and Appalachian Studies. He served for 2 years in the Episcopal Service Corps in New Haven, CT.

Reflections on the Way: I Will Arise and Go to Jesus - Break Thou the Bread of Life

Ken Medema

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