Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
At the start of Lent we speak the truth of Ash Wednesday: You are dust and to dust you will return. There will come a day when you will die, and the world will keep on existing. After speaking this truth on Ash Wednesday, we continue through Lent and speak truths about the reality of sin, temptation, shortcomings, and the need for God’s grace and forgiveness. By the time we get to Easter we have spoken all of these painful truths about our reality. And then, we hear of God’s eternal response to these truths: the death and resurrection of Jesus! God experienced our limited existence and responds with limitless love! Jesus suffered death. The world experienced three days without him. Then, he was alive again! God’s love overcame the power of death, so that we too could know and experience that nothing has the power or ability to separate us from God and God’s love.
Over the course of a majority of the pastoral visits I make with families and individuals, I find myself sharing the same basic message: “Speak your truth.” Speaking our truths can be a difficult, daunting, or painful task, however doing so has the power and the ability to change everything. Speaking our truth means that we do not need to try to convince ourselves and others of false truths. When we are able to speak honestly and truthfully about our own experience, or speak our truth, others are able to respond to what we need and expect. When we speak our truth, we are able to move to a place of acceptance and onto abundant life.
What are your truths?
Some of mine are: I am a beloved child of God. I am a follower of Christ. I am a mother. I am able to be really stubborn and abrasive. I love taking naps on the couch watching movies on Sunday afternoons. I feel called to help people build relationships with others and with God.
Some of those truths are easy to speak and to live out. Watching movies and taking naps are enjoyable and simple to do! Other truths are a bit more difficult to speak, accept, and live: being the mom of a toddler is exhausting, and means that I have less time to spend with friends and family who I love. My ability to be stubborn and abrasive is something of which I am ashamed because of the pain I have caused in relationships. Being a beloved child of God is simple, as there is nothing I need to do to earn or justify that love, however it's a truth I need to repeatedly remind myself. Being a follower of Christ is not always easy; Christ calls me to love and serve my neighbors no matter who they are or if they are deserving of my help.
Having spoken these truths, I am able to address those truths which I would like to change, as well as continue to celebrate and live out the truths that bring life to me and my neighbors.
What are your truths? How are you speaking them and living them out?
Peace in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Lauren Applegate