“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit.… “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
[Williams, Margery; Nicholson, William (2013-07-16). The Velveteen Rabbit (Kindle Locations 40-50). HarperCollins Canada. Kindle Edition.)]
|William James Glackens’ “Family Group”|
Disciples forgive unrepentant jerks and refuse to think of them as jerks.
Disciples love enemy combatants, terrorists, and devious coworkers.
Disciples give the shirt off their backs just for the asking, and they throw in their pants and socks and shoes for good measure.
Disciples feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and nurture the imprisoned just because they need it. It doesn’t matter how they happened to get that way.
Disciples take nothing for granted and receive everything as a holy gift meant to be given away.
Disciples cannot abide injury or degradation visited upon any other person.
Disciples look for the dignity in every human being, even when that means asking Jesus to show it to us since we find ourselves at a complete loss.
|Niko Pirosmani’s “Sister of Mercy”|
|Max Weber’s “Mother and Children”|
In worship, study, prayer, and service we discover ourselves and each other as Christ’s beloved. That is Christian Formation. By listening, by caring, and by showing up when we’re needed we help others recognize themselves as Christ’s beloved. That is Evangelism.
Bishop Jake Owensby preached this sermon at the Holy Eucharist for the 36th Diocesan Convention of Western Louisiana.