August 03, 2020
I begin almost every day by reading the Daily Devotional, a free gift offered by some insightful and wonderful people from across the United Church of Christ. You can subscribe as well through the address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a number of favorite contributors. Many are new to me, for I have been officially “out of the loop” for 17 years. My contemporaries are thinning out! Talitha Arnold is the pastor of our UCC congregation in Santa Fe, NM, a long-time friend, and one of the regulars who continues to offer quality material.
A few weeks ago she began with these words from Psalm 139:14: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I will let Talitha speak for herself.
“I wonder how old the psalmist was when they wrote this psalm. I wonder what gender they were, if they were short or tall, if they had big feet or if their ears stuck out. I wonder about the color of their skin, the color of their eyes, the texture of their hair. I wonder how much the psalmist weighed.
“I wonder if their skin was smooth or wrinkled, if they had all their teeth, or if their eyes were clouded with cataracts. I wonder if they were young and supple or bent over from hard work. I wonder if they had stretch marks from giving birth or scars from a job gone bad.
“The psalmist doesn’t give us any details of what the writer looked like – no hint as to their age, ability, height, or color. We’re left to wonder about all those things by which we so often judge ourselves and others.
“The one thing the psalmist doesn’t wonder about is that they are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Of that they are certain, and that is reason enough to praise God.
“I wonder what would happen if we, too, believed we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Remember how difficult that was when we were young, when the competition was so fierce for acceptance and inclusion? Remember looking in the mirror and regretting what we were seeing? Remember wanting to be someone else, not satisfied with who we were?
Spiritual maturity is growing beyond all those superficial distinctions, and valuing the essence of who we are, and who others are as well. As Mr. Rogers would say, “I like you, just the way you are.”
Peace, John Krueger