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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, January 11, 2019

Dear Friends,

            This week I’ve been thinking and reminiscing aloud about a young woman I met in 2013.  Now very grown up and sharing more of her wonderful gifts with the world, at the time she was barely 10, and yet still seemed so confident in who she was.  Her name is Simone, and while I have a few Simone stories/fond memories, one of my favourite is from one of their congregational mornings dubbed Nametag Sunday.  In pursuit of community and knowing one another more (or at least by first name), once a month the children would set up a table at the sanctuary entrance, in hopes of creating a stick-on name tag for everyone who arrived.  One Sunday, Simone and friends decided to work by alliteration.  Mine said Happy Heather.  There was Lovely Laura and Joyful Joanne – and then there was Simone’s self-description:  ‘Simone is Selling Girl Guide Cookies’… because she was, and because it was clearly too good a moment to miss for marketing.  Her creativity tickled my funny bone then, and still today.  Her self-confidence keeps me enthralled, too.

            I know it was just a name tag.  I also wonder if she would even remember the morning and moment as I still do.  In the grander scheme, it was really just a childhood decision that may not have had all the connection that I still attach to it.  But I know why I hold that image in my heart:  in large part, because I longed to have had some of what Simone did, when I was her age.  Maybe some would call it gumption or hutzpah or precocious or even a little bit cheeky, but I remember Simone as unafraid to say who she was.  She wasn’t perfect, and had all the regular moments that reminded us of her age; and yet she moved and spoke with an energy that knew she was cherished.  In her home family and her church family, she knew she was safe and loved beyond measure – all of which sounds so elementary; some or all of which is never known by too many in this world.

            If I resurrected this story for Simone today, in the midst of her teenage years, she would no doubt be a little embarrassed.  How does a childhood moment hang around in some adult’s memory and then make its way into a weekly musing?  Perhaps it is as simple as trusting that there is nothing lost in any of our life’s moments.  Perhaps it is as challenging as knowing that God is working through us and in us, in the most unexpected and passing moments, when we consciously or otherwise wonder if anyone sees us there.  Nametag or not, we all need to be lifted up and identified:  for who we are and whose we are.  Whether we know it or not, God is longing to do just that, each and every day of our unfolding.  Simone was selling Girl Guide cookies.  We are wondering where God needs us to go next.  The Spirit is singing a song of joy for you.  Jesus is just about to enter the Jordan.  At the end of it all, there is another new beginning, and life will never, ever be the same.


            With love to you all,



On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same.

(Nancy Tillman, ‘On the Night You Were Born’)

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