Bright and Beautiful Clarity
Some moments burn so brightly that they illuminate the path of your entire life.
This weekend is one such moment. I’m in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to officiate the wedding of my dear friends, Kali and Haley Cawthon-Freels (that’ll be there names after today, anyway). In the sanctuary today, I’ll have friends from when I was still a Southern Baptist Pastor who have been on the journey with me for a long time, friends from my seminary years in Atlanta who bore with me and challenged me as I undertook a personal and theological transformation, and friends who have only joined me in the journey as we’ve set out on the new adventure of Redeeming Church. Today is so clear: I was always headed here.
This community, that will assemble today to witness Kali and Haley’s covenant, is a glimpse of the church we’ve been waiting and working for.
Here, petty prohibitions are replaced by values that shape our whole lives.
Here, diversity is celebrated rather than feared.
Here, thousands of dollars and thousands of miles are poured out in love to support those who were told over and over again that they would never be accepted as their true selves. That lie is dead here, replaced by the truth that everyone is universally welcomed and unconditionally loved in the family of God.
These women, who have been kept at the margins by those that fear them for almost their entire lives, will be centered and celebrated today. The last will be first in the kingdom. They who have been told that they were unwelcome at the table will now be given a seat of honor. We will clap and whistle and shout and we will look upon God’s fearful and wonderful creation and reprise the blessing of creation: we see that it is very good.
Kali and Haley, burn brightly today. Show us where we’ve come from, and show us where we’re going.
We love you.