“Truths to Live By” (Part 1) – “Do Not Fear, You Are Mine” by Erika Baker
In the Protestant Church in Germany, into which I was baptised as a baby, every baptism candidate is given a special bible verse, a baptism verse, to guide them on their Christian journey. Mine is:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine”.
I am, first and foremost, redeemed by Christ, called by name, belonging to God. The denomination I was baptised into is incidental; the denomination I worship in now is incidental. Denominations and churches are human constructs, different human attempts at representing God’s Kingdom on earth. They themselves are not “the Kingdom”.
That gives me an extraordinary sense of freedom and independence.
My validation, my identity, the purpose of my life, the core of my being – they come from God, not from any Church, not from any people. I am loved, desired, safe. I’ve known that all my life and nothing has ever been able to shake that knowledge.
That’s not to say that I haven’t often grappled with who this God is and what this world is about. Nor does it mean that I’m completely detached from the world and that Church and people are unable to hurt me.
Far from it!
But because my identity is not bound up in my Church, I am more able to work towards change where I believe change to be necessary, with passion but with a sense of detachment.
Yes, I can be hurt, very much so. But no person, no Church, can destroy my faith or my knowledge of who I am before God.
Redeemed. Called. His.
Gracious God, we thank you that you have called us all by our names, each one of us as we are, and that you tell us not to be afraid.
We thank you that we can know that we are yours.
We hope and pray that this knowledge may strengthen those who suffer at the hands of those who see themselves as the guardians of our faith, and who so often become barriers to it. We pray that those of us who are rejected for who they are may not lose their faith, but that they may recognise that their prosecutors have no power over them.
We are all safe in your love.
Tomorrow – the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, “Don’t Conceal the Truth”, John 8: 32