Mary, Mother of our Redeemer Chapel
Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary
In the strong name of God : + Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The holiest person I know is a gentle, generous nun living in the intercity of Minneapolis. A few of you here have met Sister Mary Margaret and can also attest to her holiness. Sister Mary Margaret is not holy because she lives a life of deep contemplative prayer (although she does), nor is she holy because she has mystical experiences (although she has.) No, Sister Mary Margaret is holy because of her deep, deep love – a fierce, passionate love – for humanity.
This extraordinary women finds God nowhere as clearly as she does in the regular, every day experience of human life. As a contemplative nun, as a nurse, as a neighbor to the poor and the marginalized, as a lover of souls, Sister Mary Margaret has seen the broken, the doubting, the healed, the hurting. Not only has she seen them, but she has lived with
them and among them. God, for Sister Mary Margaret, is found in the gritty, messy stuff of humanity.
Whenever I would go to Sister Mary Margaret in fear or despair or doubt or brokenness or plain, ol’ stubbornness (and you all know I have plenty of plain, ol’ stubborn moments), Sister Mary Margaret’s quick, prophetic response was predictable: “You might not be enough for yourself or anybody else, but you’re enough for God. And that’s enough.”
You. Are. Enough.
In your doubt, in your despair, in your affliction, in your joy, in your hurt, in your fear…You are enough for God.
God comes to the Hebrew people – living in exile, living in fear, living in despair – and speaks to them through the prophetic words of Baruch.
And God says to Israel the same thing as Sister Mary Margaret said to me: You are enough.
How often have we neglected the powerful ministry of this pulpit? How often have we forgotten the prophetic power of this altar? How often have we used our pulpits and tables and fonts and classrooms and social media to hand over the garment of affliction, the clothes of sorrow? How often have we failed to recognize God’s profound and unabashed love for us? How often? How often? How often have we preached or taught or tweeted that God’s love has conditions? How often?
Today, Baruch calls us to recommit ourselves. We must put on, ourselves, the garments of righteousness – right relationship, loving relationship with God. We must put on, ourselves, the crown of God’s glory, which Irenaeus says is the human person fully alive. We must do this. But we must also – and always – remind others to do the same.
We must say to ourselves and to Israel, to the Church and to the World: Arise! Stand upon the height! Take off your garments of affliction and put on the beauty of a lived relationship with God; put on the crown of God’s glory ; tattoo on your arm – in big, bold, flashy lettering – RIGHTEOUS PEACE, GODLY GLORY. Israel – Cody – Louise – Anthony– Saint John’s School of Theology: You. Are. Enough.
God – the Everlasting ; the one who flattens mountains and levels valleys; the one who offers shade and salvation – has clothed you, wrapped you in God’s own robe and placed God’s own crown upon your head. You are enveloped in love by God. Enveloped in your brokenness, in your anxiety, in your disbelief, in your rage, in your injury, in the messy stuff of humanity.
You are enough, people of God. Perhaps not for yourself or your professors; perhaps not for your family or your Church. But you are enough for God.
You belong to God. To the God of Baruch, to the God of Sr. Mary Margaret, to the God who takes you as you are ; to the God who summons out what you shall be ; to the God who has set a seal upon your heart and who lives within you. You are enough. Amen.