We Are Called Beloved

Post date: Jun 28, 2019 6:25:25 PM

Greetings of summertime peace to you!

I told Jesus it would be alright if he changed my name. 

This line from the song of the same name speaks to the promise that when we are baptized we enter into a new life, and God changes our name to “saint” and “beloved.” This new life won’t be easy, especially being a child of God in a world that doesn’t recognize the all-encompassing love of God, but the song writer Liz McComb says, It’s alright; go on, Jesus, and change my name.

I often think of this song when someone is being ordained to the Office of Minister of Word and Sacrament. But this week, as I’ve been humming the song, I’ve had on my mind the joy we will experience as we confirm three of our youth this Sunday. I’ve been reflecting on their spiritual journeys, as well as my own spiritual journey, namely my ordination. On that day, the preacher spoke about how my name was being changed. She said that the journey of faith that started when I walked down the aisle of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach and accepted Christ on August 15, 1982, was really just another marker on the way. It was another moment of God directing my path and walking beside me throughout all of the stuff of life. And, she added further, when I was ordained in NYC in September 2013 my name wasn’t changed, full-stop, a once and for all past action, but I was entering into the process of being changed again; I was becoming ordained. To be sure, I was on paper going from Minister Trish to that of Reverend Trish, but — and I’ll never forget her words — it was not a one time moment, but a lifetime of being called, being transformed, as all of our spiritual journeys are an ongoing action of always shifting, always being pushed and stretched and shaped into a “brighter and more beautiful version of the person God wants us to be.”

So, for our confirmation youth — Damien Howlett, Marie Howlett, and Michael Howlett — their names are going to be changed once more. Their confirmation is just one further step along their faith journeys that began at their baptisms. They are being changed into God’s likeness, by the real presence of Jesus given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. To be sure, as I told them several times during our confirmation classes, their faith may waver, and it will certainly shift over time. But I reassured them that they will always belong to God because there is nothing anyone can to do to change that. And we, as their church family, can’t wait to see how God is going to use them and all of their gifts in the world.

I can’t wait to see you in God’s house of love!

In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish