A sermon for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany
Imagine if you will a little girl who is 7 years old. She is the eldest of 4, a sister 5 years younger and twin brothers that are 7 years younger. With 3 babies under 2 years old there was no time for this little girl. She learned that she needed to place herself in the midst of caring for the babies is she wanted to be included, but it made no difference. She felt alone, played alone and felt she was outside of the family. She felt she had no worth and wanted deeply to have her mother’s approval.
Fast forward to Middle school. She is the new girl. She wanted to fit in with these new people and did things that got her in trouble with both the school and her parents. She felt that if she did what these kids said that she would have friends and acceptance. But they only got her in more trouble and made it clear to her that she did not fit in with kids who have been going to school together since kindergarten.
They really did not like her but had fun making her do things that were questionable.
In high school, she met a man and married him in the fall before her senior year. She got pregnant. Her pregnancy was hard, so she quit school to rest and take care of herself. She had the baby and her mom said she would never make anything of herself and that she ruined her life. The girl graduated from high school a year late and had another baby. She had gained a lot of weight and was told she looked bad. She went on fad diets to try to lose the weight, but she only yo-yoed. Her weight would go up and down and even when she was thin there was always criticisms. She graduated from college twice, with two degrees, one in medicine and one in criminal justice.
She was the first woman in her family to go to college and graduate, but all her mom could say was, “okay, well, what’s next?” This girl was devastated, she and cried and yelled and wondered what she had to do to be accepted, approved of and worthy in her mom’s eyes.
This cycle continued until I was 38 years old. You are probably wondering what changed? Well, I gave my life to the Lord! I prayed, I talked to God like an old friend and I started talking to a Christian councilor who gave me passages to read from the Bible. All these passages reinforced that God is love. That I did not need any human being’s opinion, approval, acceptance and that I was worthy.
We were created in God’s image.
God breathed life into each and every one of us.
Our names are tattooed on God’s hands. I don’t know about you but if I am going to tattoo someone’s name on my body then they better be extremely important to me.
I learned that God is Love and that means that we are accepted just the way we are. God knows us and our struggles as well as our shortcomings and successes, and God has given us the ultimate unconditional love. We are accepted right where we are. We are worthy of doing anything that glorifies God. When we do God’s work we become extraordinary even if we feel ordinary. When God puts a call on our hearts, we must listen. Don’t ask why, or how or think, I can’t do this, I’m not worthy. God doesn’t want us to be perfect because if God wanted perfection God would have made us perfect. We must remember that all things are possible through Christ. If you feel called to be a lay leader step up, God is love. If God is calling you to join a ministry way to go, God is love. Or if you are called to have input on how to make that ministry better then go for it. God is love. If you are called to start a new ministry, go forth and prosper. God is love.
The call may be tugging harder at you and God may want you to pursue an ordained call, such as to be a priest or deacon, follow the call to see where it leads. God is love. If this feels outside your comfort zone it may be that call from God because God loves putting you outside your comfort zone to do God’s work. Do not fear because God is Love.
God calls all of us into our Baptismal Covenant. Calls us to be like Jesus. Which means to open our hearts and love each other as He has loved us this means God does not care what we look like, how much we weigh, how much we think we are unworthy, God just wants us to remember that we are beautiful in God’s sight and to be confident for whatever God calls us to do because God is love. There is a saying out there, “We only accept the love we think we deserve…” Well we deserve much love because we are loved by God.