The Gifts of Authenticity
Based on Genesis 1……
God of the morning and of the night,
Creator and Giver of the full moon that will be Tuesday,
We confess that we don’t always see the creation as good.
There are parts of it that are difficult and challenging.
There are parts of us that are difficult and challenging.
Help us to understand the gifts of authenticity and to see the true reality possible of all creation …… and especially its goodness. Amen.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for the Skin Horse was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ Rabbit asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Authenticity …..its about bringing your true self to the present moment which means that you have to know your true self. Our job is not to imitate others. Our job is to build our gifts and skills to become who we were created to be – which will be GOOD! The opossum can’t be the shark. Too often we judge ourselves, our church, our family, our group, our _______ (you fill in the blank) by comparing ourselves to others.
Anybody tired right now of all the commentators filling the airwaves with Super Bowl hype full of comparisons, statistics and deflategate. Benchmarks are big in our world. There are times to STOP IT!
Instead — Know THYSELF! Love THYSELF! Discover and Live out Your True Authentic self – you will be offering a Gift to all those around you because they too will have the permission, the freedom to live out their authenticity as well.
We measure ourselves by those around us because we have been taught to do that. I knew what percentile I was on the Achievement tests in middle school. I knew my ranking in assists in our District’s basketball league. I was told my ranking in college according to my GPA. We live in a world of stats. And, sometimes these aid us in our push to fulfill our authenticity. AND, when do we need to STOP attempting to live up to another’s expectation of us that may not lead us toward our true authentic selves?
What metrics do YOU need to use to find and live out your Authentic Self who was created Good?
A truly good Human is not aware of their goodness,
And is therefore good.
A foolish Human tries to be good,
And is therefore not good.
A truly good Human does nothing,
Yet nothing is left undone.
A foolish Human is always doing,
Yet much remains to be done.
Tao De Ching, Chapter 38
How much as you look into the mirrors around you are you attempting to be good? We look into the mirrors only to see our skinny legs, our fat wrinkles, our moles or other external parts of ourselves. Instead, let us look deep within our hearts, minds and souls. Listen to that small, quiet voice that offers you guidance on who you are created to be. It may feel imperfect. It may seem to different from the world you are comparing yourself with.
Brené Brown wrote a text entitled Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. In it she writes, “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” You have to love yourself before you can truly love your neighbor. The transformation of our world and ourselves will be because we have learned to live into our authentic selves. And when we are able to move in this direction, I believe we get closer to freedom.
The truth shall set you free Jesus said. The Truth is that you were created Good. You get to choose each and every day if you want to accept the reality that is YOU in all of your GLORY – warts, fat wrinkles, skinny legs, wispy hair or baldness or any other part of your outside that we typically don’t like.
What is your attitude? It shows up on your face, in your arms, chest and your whole persona.
Again Brene’ Brown writes……
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
(Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
Communion — This table is about living out the Great Thanksgiving of being who you were created to be in God’s Divine creation. Jesus taught that each person deserved respect, each person was a Child of God worthy of grace, forgiveness, mercy and love regardless of the imperfections around the table.
As you hear the ancient story told again today – hear the deeper meaning that Your Authentic Self is Worthy of all manner of Grace, transformation, Love, hope and Forgiveness.
The story went like this —
On the night that Jesus was to be betrayed,
He took the bread,
Broke the bread
And gave it to those gathered there saying,
This is my life, broken for you, Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way,
Jesus took the cup,
And gave it to those gathered saying
This cup is the New Covenant poured out for you.
Do this, as often as your drink it,
In remembrance of me.
On these gifts of bread and cup, Holy Spirit bless them and bless those who receive them at this table. May we offer you our faith and our praise for the Goodness that has been created through us and in us. May we know through the sharing of this meal together, that we are a true, real, authentic community of faith gathered here to be your People, offering Light to the World.