He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly. - Luke 1:52
The Song of Mary is used as the gospel on the Feast Day of Jonathan Daniels because it is one of the two readings that inspired Jonathan to go to Alabama to help Dr. King fight for civil rights. He felt God calling him through this Scripture reading at an evening prayer service held right here at St. James Church. The other reading that inspired him that night was the call of Isaiah, in which God asks, "Who will go?" and Isaiah responds, "Here I am, Lord, send me!"
In our faith tradition, we celebrate feast days that celebrate the lives of specific saints. Saints are what we call Christians who have gone before us who show us with their lives what it looks like to be the bearers of God's good news in this world. They are people through whom we see God's light shining. Jonathan Daniels is considered an Episcopal saint, which is interesting for those of us in Keene who knew him personally as a child or young man. All saints were living, breathing human beings, but it's not every day that you know a well known, named saint personally.
Like all the saints - like Mary, and like Jonathan - we, too, are all called to be Christ bearers, bringing God's love and compassion into a hurting world. This often takes a lot of courage and humility, as Jonathan Daniel's life journey demonstrates. Saints' inspire us to say, like them, "Here am I - send me!" despite the risks involved.
Our guest preacher this year for Jonathan Daniels Sunday is the Rev. Jason Wells, Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches. We also welcome members of the Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs, who, along with our own choir, will provide some great music to help us celebrate our hometown saint. This momentous day is not simply a commemoration of our boy Jonathan who did so well 50+ years ago. May it be an expression of gratitude to God for Jonathan's powerful witness among us, and may it serve as a renewed call to each and every one of us to discern the way God is calling each of us to bear Christ into the world in our own day and time.