Holy, Beloved, and Free

No one should flicker out or have a doubt that it matters that they are here. ~ Connor Murphy, “Dear Evan Hansen”

One of the uncommon aspects of St. David’s is that we intentionally make space for the collective wisdom of a shared pulpit. Over the last week, we have been blessed with the offerings of several lay preachers. One especially touched me. David, a high school senior, preached a raw and real message of what it means to be carried and loved into wholeness through Christian community.

David shared about a particularly dark season when he experienced bullying. As he recalled that time, David remarked that his biological family and his St. David’s family overwhelmed him with love and light and that this love showed him, “I am worth a lot. I am not what my bullies said I was.”

Standing in the pulpit can be challenging enough, but standing there with such a powerful message of divine love embodied in community at such a young age is revolutionary. Each deep breath he drew in felt like the Spirit’s Holy Wind filling his lungs. Each nervous hand gesture, an act of courage. It was the power to take up the space that each of us deserves. To be seen and recognized as holy, beloved, and free.

It was not lost on me that this sermon was preached on the first Sunday of Pride Month, a time that most people associate with parades and parties. The truth is, Pride started as a revolution. It was born out of a need to fight for the right to live and love. I honor that St. David’s is a “big tent” congregation where all perspectives are present. We need the diversity of each voice. This June, I celebrate that we are doing something right. Together, amid our differences, we are working to create a place where all our youth are loved (even when the world tries to send other messages). It is what Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the “Dream of God.”

David’s message was a beautiful reminder that the way we love matters. It has power. It can be lifesaving. So, my invitation to you is to consider how you might reach out into the world to show a glimpse of Godly love so that someone might also know they are holy, beloved, and free. Stretch yourself just a little. Open your heart in places it is tempting to close it. Start your own small revolution that speaks of life and hope.

And in the joyful words of our own prophet David, “Go out and slay the day away! Amen.”

Emily +
The Rev. Emily Given

Published June 6, 2024