Who are you?

I don’t like to talk about myself in sermons. I want to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to muck that all up with any references to my own trials and tribulations. That fell apart on Sunday. When I read the Gospel Lesson for this past Sunday. (I added verse 5 and verse 9 and actually used the Common English Bible because I like it better.) I wanted to talk about the solitude of this season. I wanted to talk about how lonely it can be to be asked that question that the Levites and priests ask over and over again: “Who are  you?”

What poured out of me wasn’t passages from others. I couldn’t figure out how to tie together the various stories that I had bookmarked for this sermon. Instead, what flowed out through my furious typing was my own answer to this question. What flew from my finger tips was the hope that I could still shine in the darkness no matter how others want to define my faith or my profession. So, I wrote this sermon. I preached this sermon. I was told that there was a fire in me.

Of course, that’s true. These words are so true to me that I couldn’t extinguish the honesty of these words. I preached words that were not on this page. I cracked a joke I never intended to let fall from my lips. I peered into the eyes of those in the pews — in complete fascination — because these words were resonating. These words weren’t just about my struggle as a young clergy woman. They were words about how we are all trying to figure out how to be Christians. So, my email is full this week. Every single church member seems to want to talk about this question. No one seems to have an answer, but we all want one. We all want to find the right reply. We all want to state confidently that we are this… Without quibbling or being forced into other expectations, we want to figure out who we are supposed to be.

Maybe this means I should just throw up my hands and tell the truth. Maybe I should just let God speak through me without worrying about what the story is. Maybe it’s the power of the incarnation. It speaks through my flesh. It speaks through my bones. It illuminates the good news because I try to be open to the proclamation that God has for this time and this place. Maybe.

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