Monday, January 14, 2019

You Are Enough

Baptism of our Lord
Mark 1:4-11
January 8, 2019

When I lived in New York, I did some acting,
and I had a lot of friends who did acting as well. 
One of my good friends auditioned
for a commercial for a pain reliever or something innocuous like that.
She had done a couple of commercials before, lots of acting.
They seemed really interested in her,
her agent told her it was almost a sure thing. 
Until she showed up for the audition.

After she read her lines,
the panel of people that she was auditioning
had her stay on the set to look at her in the lights which was normal.
They kept asking her to tilt her head up.  Tilt her head left. 
Tilt her head down.  So she did. 
They seemed to be having a long discussion amongst themselves.
They thanked her and let her go
and it was obvious that she didn’t get the job.
Later, she went back and asked her agent
if they told him what the problem was. 
He told her that they said that space between
her top lip and her nose was too long. 
She wasn’t good enough because her lips were too far from her nose.

Now acting and auditioning is very judgmental,
(my friend is thankfully a teacher now)
But if we’ve spent enough time in this world,
we will certainly get the feeling that we are not
good enough, whether it’s from watching TV,
or reading magazines, or it’s from the other kids in school,
or just from our own brains telling us this.

There seems to be this constant feed in our ears,
a constant voice telling us that we are inferior.
We need to be better.

From our birth and childhood to our adulthood and in our old age,
People telling us that we are not enough.
·               We are not smart enough,
·               not pleasant enough,
·               not small enough,
·               not big enough,
·               not rich enough,
·               not old enough,
·               not young enough,
·               not generous enough.
You don’t spend enough time with your children,
you don’t have enough friends,
you don’t go out enough,
you don’t stay in enough,
Your house isn’t neat enough,
you don’t work hard enough,
you don’t relax enough,
you don’t eat the right foods,
you don’t exercise enough,
You are not holy enough, not spiritual enough,
·               not prayerful enough.

You are not enough.
We hear it so much, that it doesn’t need to be repeated really.
We say it to ourselves when we lie awake
at night and when we are alone.
I need to be better,
Baptism of the ChristDaniel Bonnell
I need to lose weight,
I need to make more money,
I need to find my passion,
I am not enough.

This voice in us is not completely bad,
it is the voice that motivates us to change and make improvements,
and even make our lives better.

But somewhere its gone haywire.
This voice seems to dominate our conversations and thoughts,
and this voice leads us to judge other people,
and try to make them feel inferior too.

It is a voice which never stops and never takes a vacation.
Somewhere along the line,
It became fashionable to always berate ourselves and others,
to never be satisfied.
We keep trying to climb to the top of a mountain
that can never be reached.

But there is another voice in the world.
This voice sometimes gets drowned out
by all the noise of the other voices, but it’s there.
We might have to strain to hear it, but it is very clear.
It is the same voice that Jesus heard
when he came out of the Jordan after being baptized.

It is the voice that says,
“You are my child.  With you I am well pleased.”

Now when John baptized in the Jordan,
his purpose was for forgiveness and repentance and
to prepare for the coming of the Lord.
But when Jesus was baptized everything stopped,
the Spirit came down like a dove and said those words:
You are my beloved, with you I am well pleased
And now we are baptized in Jesus name,
And through our baptism, Jesus shares that gift with us
that was shared with him.

It’s the voice of God that says
I love you just as you are.
I Created you as a wonderful creature and I will hold you forever.
You belong to me and you are safe with me.
I can work with you and through you.
Trust that you are okay,
that despite all the voices to the contrary, you are loved.
You are enough.

This is the voice that doesn’t make the morning programs,
that we don’t hear at the many auditions we go through in life.
It is not something fashionable to say to one another.
But it is the voice of God.

It is a gift from God.
And this gift also comes with a call.

A call to look at others and see the same thing.
To see that everyone is a child of God,
everyone deserves life and love and
honor and respect and joy,
no matter who they are or where they find themselves.

We are called to do hard work in this world,
We are called to be in the world, but not of the world.
to be compassionate, to turn the other cheek,
to love our enemies, give to God what is God’s.
to follow Jesus and Jesus ways.

When we all renew our baptism in a few minutes
here in worship, we will renew that call.
And we also will renew the voice of God that came
to us at our baptism. “You are my child. I’m pleased with you.”
No matter where we are,
what we are, where we live,
what our status is,
what we look like,
whatever we give,
whatever we do with our life,
what we have or have not accomplished --
We are enough for God.

The world says we are never enough.
We will never be all that we could be or should be,
we will always be pursuing the horizon and never reaching it.

But the waters of our baptism constantly wash that word away.
We were reborn as God’s children, God’s chosen, God’s beloved.

Today, we remember Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan,
that day when the heavens opened up and God spoke.

And Jesus shares that voice with us.
Let’s let that voice – the voice of God –
be the voice that we hear tonight in bed.
And let us share that voice with someone else.
The voice that says:
You are my child, my beloved.
With you I am well pleased.

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