Rector's Blog: You are God's gift to the world
Do you remember the first time you heard someone sarcastically say, “That person thinks they’re God’s gift to the world”? Remember how that was supposed to be a bad thing? It suggests an ego out of control, a person who’s lost perspective, who thinks too highly of themselves, right?
Here’s the thing though. I believe I’m God’s gift to the world. I believe God put me here in this world to bless others, to serve and love and care for them, to encourage and support them, uplift and nurture them. I believe that my presence in this world is part of God’s plan of reconciliation and healing. And I’m done feeling guilty about that.
Because I believe this very thing about you as well, and I’m done with you feeling guilty about it.
Your presence in this world is a gift from God. You were made to be loved and to love - and the love you experience, and share is meant to help transform this world. God put you here: Did you think that was an accident? It wasn’t. You’ve heard that your life is a gift and that’s true – but mostly you’ve heard that as a (not always gentle) reminder that you should not take your life for granted. And ok, fine. Don’t take your life for granted. That’s fine advice, but it’s an incomplete picture: Your life is a gift to me.
Your presence is a game changer. Your heart and your life matters.
You are God’s gift to the world.
My favorite part about Redeemer is the people. The greatest part of my job is simple: I am blown away and inspired on a regular basis by the people who make Redeemer a community of love.
Just today I was reading parishioner Jackie Heinitz’s reflection what inspires her here. When asked what renews her spiritually at Redeemer, her response is simple and honest and perfect. She says, "The total love, kindness, giving and acceptance that I feel. And it’s genuine - people do these things because they want to, not because they have to. All the wonderful programs that Redeemer is involved with - not only within the church, but throughout the community. We’re making a positive difference, which is wonderful. All of this has changed me for the better, which is awe-inspiring and what a wonderful gift!"
Jackie is in inspiration to me – an absolute prayer warrior for those who are sick and afflicted in this world, and when asked what fuels her spiritual power, it’s the people. She’s a gift, and she recognizes the people around her as gifts.
Last Sunday in the Banquet, Jacob Strom sang a song at the Offertory. Jacob is heading back to Boston this week to begin his second year at Berklee School of Music, but he helped lead the Banquet musicians throughout the summer and played with them often throughout his high school career. Jacob is a gift to our community. His talent is matched by his kindness and generosity of spirit. And before he launched into his last performance at Redeemer for a while, he made a point of saying, “I love you guys. This is my home. And that’s what this song is about.” Jacob is a gift not simply because of his musical talents, but because he understands the power of a community of love. He understands that the people all around him are God’s gift to him. (Listen to Jacob's song.)
As he sang, I looked around the room, and I was overwhelmed by the power of a Beloved Community – of a community founded on our mutual belonging, blessing, and belovedness. The Church is the Body of Christ. We manifest Jesus’ reconciling presence in this world. We are a community that does more than recognize other people’s gifts: We are a community that recognizes that people are the gift. You are a gift to me, and I am a gift to you. And here, together, we are learning how to live into the truth of that. We are inspired by our understanding of what we mean to each other.
You are God’s gift to the world. That’s not a sarcastic joke or a put-down. That’s the Gospel.
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