I am Still Trying to Process What It Means to Have a Street With My Name on it
At the conclusion of the celebration of my 31st Pastoral Anniversary, the children led me and the congregation of the Plymouth United Church of Christ, Detroit, out from the sanctuary, through the parking lot for a brief outdoor service. To my surprise, a cover was removed from a street pole and there was a sign with my name on it! There were a lot of nice things said about my ministry and then a prayer by our Associate Minister, Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill.
What a nice gesture! I am still trying to process what it means to have a street with your name on it. My first thought was, “I thought you had to be a lot older to have a street named after you!” But, then as I thought about it, I am 64 years old. My next thought was this: “I guess I will have to behave for the rest of my life so I do not become an embarrassment to the sign.” At the back of my mind, I have always wanted to honor my mother and father and not be an embarrassment to them, even in their graves. Another thought that came to my mind was how nice it was for the leadership of my church to petition the Detroit City Council, of which for eight years I served, to have a street sign erected with my name on it. For eight years I sat in judgment and voted on approving street signs, so it was interesting having the “Shoe on the other foot,” and having my own sign. Still another thought that ran through my mind was that there were also signs erected on the same street, St. Antoine Street, from the corner of Canfield to Mack Ave. with my father name.
I shared with my congregation today that I am in the middle of an ongoing spiritual evolution. Every day, multiple times a day, I feel the inspiration of God, leading, directing, scolding me, encouraging me. The street signs today were another sign of inspiration to me to keep pushing, keep moving, keep growing, keep learning, keep receiving the Word of God, and keep trying to follow that word in all that I do.
As I looked at the children who led the march from the church to the street sign, I thought to myself that these children may or may not be aware of the significance of the moment, but that like the children of Israel, Joshua had men take stones from the Jordan River and place them on the other side so that one day as children would play near the stones they would ask, “What do these stones mean?” and then someone would tell the story of the sacrifice, struggle, and extreme price that was paid for their freedom.
Joshua 4: ” 4 Then Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelites, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. 5 Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 so that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.” 
Questions for Reflection:
- What are your thoughts about establishing a “Marker” for the next generations to better understand your contributions to life?
- How do you keep a level head when people are saying nice things about you?
Lord, I thank you for the years you have allowed me to live? I thank you for the mountains. I thank you for the valleys. I thank you for every river. I thank you for every joy and sorrow, because through it all, I see your hand at work. Through it all, I see your blessing and promise of a better world and a better life. Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photos by Atty. Rita White
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jos 4:3–7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.