Annually we give a Carols award in honor of Inez Lambright. It is fittingly called “The Inez Lambright Memorial Wandering in the Dark” award. It goes back to a year in the mid 1980’s to a Friday night Carols concert that was a wanderer’s nightmare. It might even be why I have experienced over these many years a calling to do what I do with Carols logistics.

The story really begins dress rehearsal night. We did not complete dress rehearsal. We had a full choir costume change and due to technical and other issues, the choir got zero sense of timing. As you may know there are no easily accessible dressing areas to the Sanctuary and that was the case back in the old Sanctuary as well. It literally involved RUNNING. Since we did not get a complete timing on transitions we could sense impending doom.

Well Carols began just fine. Then came the break after part one and folks went running to change clothes. Let’s just say that the transition was SHORT. The ladies mostly changed downstairs under the Sanctuary. And they mostly were not in line when the processional started. Staggered we came down the aisles – gaps of 8-10 ft. The last people in were running (literally), including Evelyn Herm who was next up to sing “O Holy Night”. She had to ask for a minute to catch her breath.

One we got into the next concert number, the room was mostly dark. Across the back of the room, we saw a light moving back and forth. I remember thinking, must be an usher looking for something. NOT!

For in a moment, appropriately dressed in formal concert dress and with her candle glowing, down the aisle comes Ms. Inez. While she had to have been in her 80s at the time and was legally blind, she did things right. She always knew her music – she memorized it each week since she could not see it well enough to read it. She was consistent, pleasant, faithful. And she knew how to process! She came right on down the aisle, slipped into her place, ceremoniously blew out her candle. And sang.

Ad the rest of us were in awe at her persistence and her commitment to wander with purpose to do her part in the sharing of the Gospel.

Jesus wandered as well and wandered as an itinerant preacher with a purpose. For thirty three years He lived among folks like us. For the three years of his earthly ministry, He wandered town to town, sharing God’s love for us, fulfilling the prophecies told long ago. From that cold night in that stable heated by the animals and the presence of the shepherds and angels through His life of purposeful wandering to the Cross and then out of Grave, His purpose was clear. He completed the circle that gives you and me hope.

Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint.”

Lord, let me wander with purpose, your purpose.

Emmanuel. God with us. I believe.