This article was originally published in the San Marino Tribune on January 29th, 2016.
If you had the choice, would you choose to be your race, your gender, your height, your level of intelligence? Someone asked me this a few years ago and I found it a curious but challenging question. It is probably safe to assume that most of us have something we feel self- conscious about and oftentimes we blame that thing for holding us back. Our accent causes people to question our level of education. Our weight is why we aren’t married. Our faith tradition makes people fear us. Our skin color forces people to walk on the other side of the street. Race, weight, speech patterns are all easy but superficial scapegoats for why we aren’t treated better and why we perhaps, don’t treat ourselves better.
This week our congregation will be looking at a story in which Jesus and three disciples climb to the top of a mountain. As they are catching their breath, Moses and Elijah, two long dead spiritual fathers, suddenly appear on either side of Jesus. Having just climbed a desert mountain, Jesus’ clothes were dusty and sweaty but in that moment they became a blazing white. God is then heard saying “This (Jesus) is my Son, listen to him.” Moses and Elijah disappear, Jesus and his disciples climb back down the mountain and they go on with their work. It’s a curious little story but challenging image. While Jesus’ face and clothes change, nothing else does. He doesn’t suddenly grow an extra few inches or become more attractive. His skin stayed the same color, his eyes the same shape, his voice and accent held strong and in the midst of that God says “this man is deeply loved, listen to him.”
Considering the amount of insecurities we carry, I think we all need a moment like this where someone pulls us aside and says, “You are deeply loved. What you have to say is important.” While this is something each of us craves to hear, so often the people who need it the most hear it the least. In the coming week may we find or create that moment for someone in our life. Despite our different struggles of personal insecurities and embarrassments, we are all God’s children, we are deeply loved and are worthy of being heard.