This weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to serve as our congregation’s representatives to the Northeastern Iowa Synod convention.
We are Lutheran, I’m pretty sure I’ve disclosed this fact – but must repeat for the purpose of this post.
There were SO many moments this weekend. SO many moments that I was reminded of why I write, why I advocate, why I teach, why I love, why I rebel…why I do all of it.
I met people who are THE BEST part of Christianity. The type of Christian I strive to be…the nonjudgey kind. The one who reaches out, who helps, who loves all, who shows grace.
As Martin Luther said, “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.” It’s just one of the reasons I have long been a fan of Martin Luther. Sinning boldly simply gives us opportunity to show more grace and compassion to others.
I may be a bit obsessed with learning about Martin Luther. I know, it’s a bit dorky – but I just really dig who he was. Talk about a rebel. This weekend we learned about a guy named Jan Hus who was a sort of precursor to the reformation. Whew…he was a SERIOUS rebel. Let me rephrase, a seriously HAPPY rebel. He was at the stake (for questioning the practice of paying for indulgences) and he was given a chance to recant his ideas before they threw the torches on the pile of wood. What did he do? Began singing.
Can you imagine? Imagine having such strong belief in something that you are ACTUALLY willing to die? Seriously…that’s big stuff.
There were phrases all weekend that stuck with me – in a way that reminded me why we do what we do.
We began Saturday morning with a message that surrounded one of my favorite passages, the ‘Armor of God’ from Ephesians (13-17). A reminder…
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The message from Pastor Couch? We often think that being vulnerable is to be weak. It’s not. To be vulnerable is to be bold. It simply means we are comfortable enough in ourself that we are willing to put our real self out there. Take off the armor and let others see who you really are. You are enough. You always have been.”
That’s why we’ve been doing what we are doing every day.
We’re comfortable in the spectrum world. Sure, it’s taken some time, but now I realize that the more comfortable we are – the more comfortable Tucker feels – and the more comfortable everyone else does too. Is it a vulnerability to tell others about an autism ‘diagnosis?’ It sure is….
It’s also about acceptance and being bold and saying, “Here we are. We have this thing and it really doesn’t matter. Why? Because we are enough, just how we are.”
As we’re sitting in a session I begin talking about Tucker. My husband begins talking about how important it is that families feel welcome in churches. After the session a very kind woman came to us with tears. She was thanking us for telling our story. Evidently we said what she had wanted to for so long. Her son has special needs – is 30-something and lives with them.
Instead of being vulnerable she and her family had lived in a state of…well, near shame.
That is truly heartbreaking.
Why? Because in ‘her time’ this wasn’t something you talked about. I asked her to tell me her story. The tears began to flow.
Be bold. Ask.
Be bold. Tell.
It’s your turn. Be reformed. Be bold.
Allow the world to see you – whoever you truly are and believe in the words of Luther,
“Here I stand. I can do no other.”