Connected in Water and Word

Beloved child of God
Behold who you are
Become what you receive

These words from Asher O’Callaghan’s phenomenal sermon at the closing worship of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza have been replaying in my heart and my soul. How often do we truly let each other be who God fully intended us to be?

It’s no secret that I am a beloved, broken, blessed child of God who is the daughter of a woman who daily lives with a mental illness. It took me 18 years to unlock our story and tell it in this world. Every day, I continue to live into that role. It’s part of who I am and now I cannot not tell that story. In fact this morning on the plane, I shared my book with a passenger because he was sharing about his own journey.

This community has always fully accepted me as that child and loved me wholeheartedly without exception. In fact, it’s why I know that I can walk into this place and be honest about life and faith. It never seems to fail that the E falls at a time when I am struggling in my life in one way or another. It’s why I know that within moments of closing worship, as I worship, embrace my colleagues and friends in signs of peace and hugs, and prepare my heart to say goodbye for another year, I know that the tears will quickly begin to fall–holy tears that remind me we are all connected in the body of Christ.

The E is a place of holy sacred community that isn’t afraid to dive into the hard questions. It is a place where we can confess that Black Lives Matter. It is a place where we strive to be better; to be more diverse. It is a place where we openly listen to each other’s stories; in both our joys and challenges. I think of the many stories of celebration and sorrow I shared in this weekend. Stories that can be held together and not alone. Most of all, it is a place where we are all connected in water and Word.

And connected in water and Word, we can proclaim in the love of God for all people. So friends, beloved children of God, know that you hold a special place in my heart always. And always remember, “Behold who you are; become what you receive.”

16 thoughts on “Connected in Water and Word

  1. Thank you for this honest transparency. It sounds like the conference was amazing and just what you needed. Being part of a sacred, holy community where you are known is a gift. I am blessed by your words!

    • You're welcome. This conference is always one of my favorites. It truly is a gift to be a part of a sacred, holy community where you are known. I am so glad you were blessed by my words.

  2. I love your honesty. I am really trying to listen and not be the one who has to be heard. It isn't easy and I think I mess up pretty regularly, but if I'm not willing to listen how can I expect anyone else to.

  3. what an awesome quote! But still I wonder how fully they would accept and embrace you and expect you to contribute and thrive if you were the one with the chronic mental illness? Just wondering and pondering… great to have you back!

    • The quote I shared is from a transgender pastor who was preaching about finally being accepted. So I think that helps give you a little context as you wonder and ponder. Glad to be back!

  4. Tara, I so appreciate your words. And that quote:
    Beloved child of God
    Behold who you are
    Become what you receive

    So good. God cherishes us. When we can see ourselves more the way He does, I think it's easier to become what we receive. I'll be thinking on this quote today. 🙂

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