Snowflakes gently fall outside my office window. This morning, I spent time at both King Soopers and Safeway purchasing 60 gift cards in $25 increments for unaccompanied youth connected to the Thompson Valley School District. These cards will be distributed for young people without home or family to purchase groceries and gas. I hope somehow they can feel the love of our congregation as they purchase those items. I hope and pray that they will know that they are not alone. I hope and pray that they will believe that they are beloved, precious and one day will find belonging. Thank you for the gifts that made this purchase possible!
I've been thinking a lot about belovedness and belonging. You may not know, but my name Thandiwe roughly translates to beloved, so this idea of belovedness is one that I have carried (indeed been gifted with) all my life. Do you know that you are loved? That you are worthy of love? That it does not matter what you do or say? What you do not do or do not say? You are beloved. Worthy of love. And I believe that God desires belonging for all of us.
Traditional Christian language talks about God's kingdom (thy kingdom come, thy will be done) but many more contemporary theologians and thinkers have dropped the 'g' and speak and write about the kin-dom of God, and I LOVE this language of kin-dom. In a kingdom there is a ruler, a male monarch to be precise, who sets the laws, who commands the land, who often benefits from the labors of the most marginalized and poorest. The language of kin-dom, however, speaks to me of relationship -- a realm, a land, a community of belonging. Keep your ears open, you may hear me use the language of kin-dom more often in worship, and I invite you to try it out whether it's when we pray together or when you are talking about God's beloved community.
May it be a reminder and an invitation to all of us to loving relationship -- not just with the people we already know, not just with the people with whom we agree and get along, but with all the people around us. Indeed with all humanity. May it empower us to think of unaccompanied youth here in Loveland as our own children, our own grandchildren.
With love and blessings,