Their beauty is exquisite — the daylily blooms resulting from last summer’s sabbatical gardening. With coffee in hand, I journey each new day to see what surprise the garden holds. I count the blooms, marveling at their balanced symmetry, stunning depth of color and velveteen petals that serve as the canvas for the elegant pistil and stamen that stretch toward the morning sun. The flower’s message of God’s care is a sacred one for this anxious and fear-filled world.
With worry and anxiety pulling in different directions, the church and her leaders need reminders of the trustworthiness of God’s watchfulness. Recently I witnessed disappointment and fear among pastors and church leaders struggling with the silence within their communities of faith about sexual orientation and gender identity. Fearful of division and loss, communities of faith skirt conversations that could be reconciling and transformative.
It was 35 years ago that Chevis Horne, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Martinsville, Va., encouraged his sister, who was chairperson of the search committee at Mintz Baptist Church in Roseboro, N.C., to consider calling me as pastor. They did. During those years the number of times I had been told, “We’re not ready to call a woman” were too many to count. That response did not deter women then, and neither do intimations of “we’re not ready” deter the people of God from following where God is leading today.
Along with the challenging conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity, the church is also being called to deliberative dialogue about white supremacy and privilege. Instead of un-ready-ness the church resists acknowledging the need of having this centuries-long overdue discussion. How long will the church be complicit?
How many more people must die before we acknowledge we trust in guns more than God, and insist on common sense gun restrictions? Are church leaders speaking and taking action or are we fearful?
If we are striving to be faithful to who God is calling us to be in this time and place and in our relationships with one another and all creation, we need not worry or fear. I’m considering the lilies every morning, and I encourage you to do the same. If God takes care of them, will God not take care of us, O people of faith?