Sunday mornings were ritualistic even before the public worship portion commenced for us. I would always wake up about an hour before it started. By the time I was all ready to go, I would often be waiting for my mom to come down the stairs before we would get in the car to drive into town. And seemingly every Sabbath of needing to get to a certain place by a certain time, I would be stopped in my tracks by Charles Osgood. His voice brought a calming presence into that kitchen, almost felt like into the whole countryside, from the television set, as he anchored CBS Sunday Morning for over 20 years. During the week, that and other tv’s in the house would be filled with plenty of doom-and-gloom from the Rathers and Brokaws and Jennings of the world. But something about Osgood beautifully infused hope back into the human mix.

I’m not sure exactly what it was about him: something about his story-telling style, something about his bow-tie, something about him sitting on a chair without a desk separating him and a human wanderer like me, something about that voice that made me just stop and rest and enjoy for a while. There was something about him laying the groundwork for the whole Sabbath ideal: for there not just to be calm and ease, but for there to be holy renewal, too. It’s almost as if he laid the groundwork for the soul to be more fertile to be further planted with hope and new life in the public worship portion soon enough.

The way he told a story was in a tone of invitation and wonderment and amazement all at once: a most beautiful symphony that I have a feeling Jesus crafted to perfection, an artform that maybe the future written recorders of his parables and sayings couldn’t quite fully pull off in what we know as the Bible. There was just enough awe-inspiration with that seemingly smallest, but still holy, portion of time on those precious Sabbath mornings, that those memories all flooded over when hearing of Osgood’s death last week. It serves as a reminder that the best of stories shared amongst us are not the ones we simply listen to, but inspire us to share our own stories, as if there’s hopeful and Jesus-ful material in there, too.

Part of Charles Osgood’s expansive talent repertoire was that of being a poet. And there’s one that has many connections to be made with the church, to be sure.

There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task?

Anybody could have told you that Everybody knew
That this was something Somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; Anybody had the ability.
But Nobody believed that it was their responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that Anybody could have done,
If Anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since Everybody recognized that Anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that Somebody would.

But Nobody told Anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And Nobody took it upon himself to follow through,
And do what Everybody thought that Somebody would do.

When what Everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that Somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And Everybody looked around for Somebody to blame.

Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end, Nobody did
What Anybody could have.

Of course, if read a certain way, “Responsibility” can appear rather full of doom-and-gloom, to put it mildly. But there’s also a most incredible opportunity. Even if it isn’t serving on a committee or putting in however many hours for a charitable organization, it can still happen in the seemingly smallest, but holy, portion of time. It can happen with a story, not just from a guy in a bow tie, and most certainly not stopping from the Christ, either. Because his Gospel story is not meant to stop with us listening, but empowering us to recognize the Gospel in our own story, too. May that part be shared in sanctuaries and kitchens and everywhere else in between. Amen (so let it be)!

In Christ,
Pastor Brad