Life is a daily challenge with ups and downs. Nothing in this world is perfect. We are human beings. Feelings sometimes get in the way and more often than not get hurt or rattled. How we accept those challenges and bounce back is crucial. Do you do it alone or do you open your heart and be vulnerable to accepting help from others?
Nearly two years ago I met a Pastor as I was walking my dogs in Logan Circle. She must have sensed something sad in me and approached me with her dogs in tow and a big beeming smile. That Pastor invited me to worship at an upcoming Sunday service.
Although hesitant to engage with anyone in my state of mind and suffering, this stranger held out a hand of hope, a hand of God, so I accepted the invitation and attended service that faithful day in August 2015.
I had not been in a church in 30+ years, although baptized Roman Catholic, so I was apprehensive of not knowing what to expect. The antalytical me struggled because I didn’t know what to do or expect. But the moment I walked into that scary Gothic looking building, I felt a sense of relief and acceptance, as though I was being guided by a hand that I couldn’t see, but could feel the positive energy of the people surrounding me.
These people didn’t know me, didn’t make me feel like they were judging me, and didn’t hit me up to make a donation to the church. Instead, they welcomed me literallly with open arms and huge smiles. I didn’t feel like I was entering the twilight zone of churches — those places were the smiles are facades.
All are welcome! That is truly a message that sunk in for me. God’s love began to sink in through the interactions and relationships that have formed with individuals in this congregation. I may aggitate people because I tend to question a way of doing something when I have been told, “that’s the way it has always been done”. We can agree to disagree sometimes, but God’s grace is always among us.
I am learning that discipleship is a journey, and that we are all stewards in this journey, but we are not alone. At my church, Luther Place, we are truly on the journey together as Stewards of Christ!
It has taken me a few attempts to write this because my eyes keep watering, but I am grateful that the Holy Spirit has brought me to Luther Place. I am grateful that I can be vulnerable in a comfortable and safe environment. I am grateful that I can worship in a space with others that are accepting of me as a gay man.
The Luther Place Community is filled with an extended family of brothers and sisters that accept me for who I am. Some are brave enough to try to put me in my place (wink, wink), but they have welcomed me with open arms and guiding hands on the journey together with them.
Because of my Luther Place brothers and sisters, I am more open, I am more comfortable with being vulnerable, I am more outgoing, I am becoming bolder in my actions. This congregation has helped me grow over the past two years, and will for years to come. It makes me proud to say