By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
I recently took a class at Wesley Theological Seminary. It was taught a pastor from the United Church of Christ. She had us look at a writing by Marianne Williamson. Here’s the passage:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
Then, the professor invited us to look at this passage again. This time, she told us to change the subject from being about us, to being about the Church. Let’s look at it again:
“The Church’s deepest fear is not that it is inadequate. The Church’s deepest fear is that it is powerful beyond measure. It is the Church’s light, not darkness that most frightens the Church. The Church asks itself, ‘Who is the Church to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who is the Church not to be? All the members are children of God. The Church playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure around the Church. The Church is meant to shine, as children do. The Church was born to make manifest the glory of God that is within all. It’s not just in some; it’s in everyone. And as the Church lets its own light shine, the Church unconsciously gives people permission to do the same. As the Church is liberated from its own fear, the presence of the Church automatically liberates others.”
When you remember that we are the church, this writing takes on even more impact. We are called to be empowered as children of God. As Williamson writes, we were “born to make manifest the glory of God that is within” each one of us. We are liberated by the love of Christ. I invite you to answer the call and live as God’s loved and confident child.