My best friend in the whole wide world has zero concept of directions. In spite of this, she insists on being the Navigator when we travel. But I love her stubbornness, and I love how often we find amazing places we would never have stumbled upon had we not been hopelessly lost. In turn, she thinks it’s hilarious when I manage to knock over an entire drink on both of us because I am so excited we finally found the restaurant we had been searching for for hours. She loves that I am hopelessly clumsy and that I am at my clumsiest when I am particularly joyful and excited. Our friendship is built on years upon years of grace and love, not in spite of our flaws but because of them.
Often the character traits we love most about a person become the character traits that annoy us down the line. My best friend’s lack of direction is tied closely to an aspect of her that I adore and respect - her free spirit and anxiety-free demeanor. As a Type A person, I revel in the adventures I would never allow myself to be lost in without her. Also as a Type A person, I may be tempted to become frustrated and resentful about veering off schedule because we get lost all the time. Likewise, my clumsiness is an aspect of my emotional exuberance that she adores. However, if she allowed my clumsiness to embarrass her or she refused to forgive me for ruining her outfit, we may no longer be friends.
This grace and ability to see someone as a whole person, flaws and all, is the secret to healthy and long-lasting relationships. I believe this is why God commands us to love our neighbor and focus on Grace. This grace is what I pray for in our Church Community every day. The beauty of a community built on grace is our ability to recognize our own flaws so that we do not spend time pointing out the flaws of others. It is our willingness to work through our own shame so that we do not shame others. It is the way we love ourselves and our God so much that we have no other option but to overflow that love on each other.
When I stand up in front of all of you on Sundays and Wednesdays, I want you to know that I SEE you. I see the beauty and creativity that God wove into each and every one of you; I see the gifts you offer humbly to the world; I see the insecurities you think you need to hide, and I wonder at the marvel of a Creator God who allows us our imperfections and adores us anyways. My dream for this Church, and the Mission I see all of you live out every day is to continue making space around The Hearth for anyone (flaws and all) who is seeking a warm, safe place to listen to stories about our God, a God who affirms the Divine in All through our intentional and welcoming community.