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Pastor's Message

I finally had the chance this past month to hear the widely acclaimed pastor and doctor Otis Moss III preach in person at the Festival of Homiletics in downtown Minneapolis. He began his sermon with a story, a story about an interview he had seen with a music artist. This particular artist always carried a small cup of tea with him wherever he went and was always seen with it. The interviewer wrapped the interview by asking why this was. The artist responded:

“My mother told me to do it to remind me to be careful about whom I let fill my cup… and to make sure to pour it out if it was no good… I should wash it out afterwards as well to make sure there isn’t any residue left behind to contaminate the good…”

Be careful whom you let fill your cup… It is a timeless and yet timely call to be mindful of who and what we let into our lives. Does it bring out our best self? Does it help us grow into who God made us to be? Or does it cause us to turn caustic, bitter, cynical and cruel? You are what you eat and the company you keep after all. So what is and who exactly are filling your cup?

            Because if you aren’t careful, people are willing to do it for you, people who are more than happy to lie about who you are or who your neighbor is. They do it to stoke insecurities, anxieties, prejudice and downright hate to sell you something. If they can make you discontented with yourself or even hate yourself, or hate your neighbor they will. Sadly there are even those in the Christian tradition that would happily fill cups with such rhetoric and venomous spite. We as people of faith are not immune to this.

            Be careful whom you let fill your cup... There is a reason we come together each week, to be fed by Jesus’ words, by his body and blood. There is a reason we gather each week to hear again God’s promises to us and to all people. It’s so we can fill our cup with the right stuff, the life giving, world changing, stuff. We gather to be reminded that we belong to God and have value no matter what we do or have done to us. Moreover, our worth isn’t defined by others who wish to pour out their own ideas on us, their ideas of who we are or who we should be. Every BODY is God’s good creation. We are made in God’s own image not someone else’s idea of what that image should be. This is especially important for our siblings whose skin is darker, whose gender or sexuality, may not conform to our expectations, for people whose body type isn’t represented positively in our media and culture. They too are God’s good creation. I’m reminded of something my seminary professor used to say all the time: “God is not in the business of making junk”.

            Siblings in Christ, be careful whom you let fill your cup. Do they bring out the best in you and help you to see the best in others? Or do they cause you to loathe and hate yourself and those around you? Remember that God didn’t create junk when God created you, and that goes for your neighbor too, whatever God’s image looks like in them.

As Ever in Christ,

Pastor CJ

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