The experience of invisibility can manifest as simply as being the last one picked for a sports or spelling bee team in third grade, not being invited to a party all your other friends are eagerly anticipating, or as complex as not being considered for a job promotion you believe you deserve. Whenever or however it happens, it hurts. It is humiliating. And it pushes back against one of the truths we hold most dearly: that each one of us has been made uniquely and creatively by a God who loves us and who sends us out into the world each week, after being forgiven, restored, and renewed, in order to make our particular contribution, as we join God in mission in our world.
I wonder if these stalled times of our lives, when it seems God’s message to us is to sit in the moment longer, rather than dash forward toward our own plan, can provide for us an invitation to a very different kind of prayer. Rather than asking God for what we need or want, could we echo Simeon’s words, when holding the messiah in his arms as Jesus was presented to him in the Temple, with the prayer in his heart, “I have you Lord, I have enough.”
These questions of “Does including the new and different mean that we are letting go of the values that have always defined us? Or do the values that define us compel us to be more inclusive and open?” represent a major turning point in the story of the early church. It is also the crux of much of the turmoil in the contemporary church as it takes little imagination to see how this same question applies to many of the controversies the Episcopal Church has walked through recently. The Episcopal Church continues Peter’s work by continually making the circles ever wider.
I sometimes showed up late at night, when I knew all family would have left, so I could spend some quiet moments in prayer with Francis, making the sign of the cross on her forehead, surrendering my soul into a prayer of offering a loved one’s life into the eternal force of love.
With the power of the resurrection made manifest through the healing offered by the apostles, we first know that healing is what the resurrected Christ is all about. The apostles were given this power so that they could continue Jesus’ primary mission: to heal the world.
You are Loved for who you are, exactly as you are, unconditionally.