Steal Away to Jesus
"Stop the world, I want to get off!" That was a phrase, a song, a musical and a movie in the early 1960s. Yes, 50 years ago our nation was in the midst of societal upheaval with a combination of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the fight for racial equality and deep political divide. Comedy which mixes humor with reality brought some relief in a complex time. Of course the world can’t just stop to give us a moment of peace and rest.
Of course we try to sidestep the difficult and often harsh realities of the world around us; we call it “vacation.” Actually I am on vacation as I write this reflection. I set aside two weeks for rest and renewal, but finally stopped working on day 6. I then decided that for the last seven vacation days I would disconnect completely from work email and any news related media; successful except for a few work emails. My dreams have kept me working in my sleep solving pandemic matters, dreaming of a conversation with my bi-racial grand-nephew about being a black young man in our society. I dreamt of struggling congregations, hurting people and a world in need of healing, hope and Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying my time away with family and in nature. But, there is no getting away from reality, and reality ain’t easy these days.
The song came to mind, “Steal Away to Jesus.” For me there is hope and peace to slip away from the overbearing anxiety of the world and come to Jesus. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). Maybe we can’t get away from all that worries us, but we can give all of those cares to someone who loves us, Jesus. The song “Steal Away to Jesus” is a Negro Spiritual written during days of slavery. The song has a double meaning pointing to both heavenly victory one day and the expectant hope for freedom from slavery and injustice in this world.
When life becomes overwhelming, we can steal away to Jesus anytime to give our troubles to Him. Don’t wait for a vacation! “Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus. I haven’t got long to stay here.”
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.