As I drive to work each morning, a man who makes his home on the streets waves a palm branch in blessing over every car that passes under the bridge. I know that his hair is matted and his jacket is torn, but what really bothers me is that I can’t see his shoes. Normally, this wouldn’t have been my first concern, but in the recently released CD Justice and Love, Bryan Sirchio asks: "How does the love of God abide in you if you have this world’s goods and yet refuse to help someone in need?" I have more shoes than I need. Justice and Love urges me to wonder why I don’t give them to this man.
This is Sirchio’s seventh solo recording of his 10-year musical ministry and adds to a body of work that invites children, teens, and adults to participate in the joys and challenges of discipleship. An ordained minister who gave up the pulpit to put on the guitar, Sirchio preaches two sides of the gospel: seizing and nestling into a personal relationship with God while living the faith of personal responsibility to promote peace, end hunger, and eliminate poverty. To his fans, he writes, "I try to nurture a balance between songs which help us look inward and nurture the Spirit’s presence in our personal lives, and songs which call us beyond ourselves to reach out to this broken world with Christ-centered compassion and justice."
Sirchio reminds us that Jesus directed his followers to "follow me" 87 times. This call is not merely to acknowledge his existence or to believe, but to "follow me." This commitment does not include recreating Christ in our own ideological image but aligning life choices with the radical changes Jesus required of all his disciples. To Sirchio, following means acting upon a God-inspired voice that comes nagging in prayer, as in "There Really is a God," or while driving "Westbound on Interstate 80," where you might just hear God urging you to give your new sneakers to the man at the side of the road.