Dear pastors, I hope and pray that you have someone in your life that you can call to say you have no words.
You have a draft of a sermon and this week has been another beast so it feels like you should say something, but the words aren’t coming easily. I hope you have someone to call who hears this and nods knowingly through that little FaceTime screen. I hope that that person asks you if you really need to preach because you are struggling to care for yourself right now when your whole city has been without power and water and now you’re just trying to conserve as much as possible but there are so many people to care for right now. I hope that when you brush off that question that that someone asks it again because you too need a break.
The pastor of my sweet Texas church and I chatted today and this is basically how our conversation went. She’s in Austin. She has power but she hasn’t slept with worry for so many she loves dearly. She has a pastor heart as big as I know so many of you do. She told me that there would be a baptism this Sunday which seems really perfect for the Gospel Lesson and I asked her if I could help. I asked her if I could help write something for her.
She sent me an affirmation of faith she had written to follow the baptism. I promised I would add to it. It is a collaboration as all the best things are and so my thanks goes to Anna Kreisle Humble and her endless creativity. My thanks also goes to you, dear pastor. I know you are doing such amazing things and I hope that there is someone who is helping you carry that heavy load.
An Affirmation of Faith for Baptism and Belovedness in Texas Inspired by Mark 1:9-15 We believe in you, O God, our Everlasting Source, the fountain of life, who filled creation with rivers and oceans and pools deep and wide enough to cover the whole earth and is creating still in the patience we must find now that no water comes from our faucet. We believe that water is right. It is a gift that reminds us again and again that we are forgiven and loved and redeemed and we believe that it is freely given so that every body and soul might be hydrated in the grace of good news. We believe in you, O Christ, our Beloved One, who rose from the waters of baptism to fight for peace and justice and teach that there are no limits to what love can do. We believe that love is the fuel in our hearts that burns so hot that even when the thermostat dips down to terrifying depths , we will not grow cold to the needs in our community. We believe in you, O Spirit, our Guide, the radiant heat of possibility in this moment and every moment who made herself known by sweeping over the waters of creation and reminding us to breathe. We believe that we are called to do more for our community, for the world and even for ourselves but we first we must catch our breath and warm our hands to remember what love lives in us. The heavens might be torn apart but we dare to believe even now that we are beloved and the Holy Trinity is well pleased with what we dare to dream is possible. May it be so.
If you serve a congregation in Texas and want to use this on Sunday, please do so with my abundant blessing. If you live somewhere else where you are still waiting for a thaw, use this and edit it as needed. Do your best to stay warm and care for each other. I know you are doing this. I know you are doing so much more than this, dear pastor. I hope that there are blessed souls caring for you just as tenderly.