Stay REAL – July 24, 2016

20160612_091510Today, we celebrated “Christmas in July” at our pastoral charge. I think the recipient of an amazing gift was me. After concluding the first worship celebration; a congregant came and said, “Rev. Takouhi, thank you for being SO REAL”. I accepted his words, thanked him and got ready to go on to the second point to lead the second worship celebration of the day.

As I was driving, I remembered the very first time I heard Karoline Lewis, at the Festival of Homiletics (Nashville 2013). Her sermon/lecture was about the Gospel of John, her favourite. To this day, I still remember, and I am paraphrasing, “Preachers, who are you Monday through Saturday and who are you on Sunday? If Jesus came to take out your garbage/recycling bin, what would he find?”

I do not know exactly why this stuck with me – but today, after three years, I can still recall it. Maybe because it was my very first Festival of Homiletics; or it was just so important to me personally to hear these words, “God is looking for TRUE people at the pulpit and not a fake person. You are Good Enough, you do not need to pretend.” What a Gift!

This week has really been a week where God has been evident everywhere. From having wonderful conversations with those in ministry with me in this charge, to meeting and listening Rabbi Bulka at the interfaith dialogue in Elgin; working on the poetry book that is planned to be published in September; to sharing “My Journey” out of Lebanon with the Chaffey’s Lock Seniors Group lunch on Thursday; to attending a beloved colleague’s husband’s celebration of life service on Friday; to working on the sermon for this a.m., “Mary’s Kind of YES!”. Moments of Grace have been nothing less than, Grace, Upon Grace…

With all the heartache in the world, political hopefuls, to the south of us, pretending to be the voice of the people, and famous people creating controversy, by hurting each other to be more popular – this congregant was right on – it is a GOOD thing to STAY REAL and to STAY TRUE. The ONE who has created us UNIQUE, COMPLETE and WHOLE is NOT looking for pretenders nor false self inventions…

On this day when we celebrated Christmas in July, may your gift to yourself and to the world be – to Stay Real, to Stay True. Amen.

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