19 | totally loved #Lent2022

Isaiah proclaims, “God called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb God named me.” (Isaiah 49:1b)

[W]hen I asked Taj if he could remember a time in his life when he felt totally loved and affirmed as his authentic self, he told me about an experience he’d had in his UCCC congregation: The first Sunday I went back to my church after I came out at trans, I just remember standing in front of the table full of name tags, and staring at my name tag and thinking, “I can’t put that on.”

I remember looking blank. And one of the greeters came up to me and she says, “You need help finding your name tag?” And she laughed, and I laughed, and I said, “No, I think I need a new one.” And she just kind of looked at me, and so I said, “Yeah, I need a new one, like, forever.” And she went, “OK!” And she got me a new tag and she said, “Why don’t you write your name on this one and we’ll have a new permanent one for you next week!” And she handed me an order of service and I went inside and thought, “That was the easiest thing ever!” That church became a safe haven for me. Being in that church throughout my entire transition, and growing with that church during that time, was so necessary for me. They were probably the most supportive people in my life, other than the handful of friends that I had. Faith and my gender identity are so linked for me that I don’t know how to talk about one without talking about the other. Ω

Reflect: It was ‘just’ a nametag. When has somebody’s smallest action left you feeling totally loved and affirmed? Is there a small action you feel invited to do for someone else today?

What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together 40 stories from people both within and beyond the congregation, with associated questions for reflection and prayer. A reading will be uploaded every day of Lent. This year’s theme is Fruit of the Spirit. Why? Read this. #Lent2022. Real People, Real Stories: 40 Readings for Lent © Sanctuary, 2022. From Austen Hartke. Transforming. The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2018: 146.

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