by Baylee Smith —
We love labels, don’t we? Nutrition labels tell us what is in the food we consume. Warning labels tell us how to stay safe and avoid danger. Price labels tell us what to value and what something may cost us. Labels can be really helpful. They can make things so much simpler…
Labels help us understand details and make decisions. Yet… this dynamic shifts when we move from using labels to define things and we begin to define people. We begin to define ourselves. As I think about my own life and labels I put on myself, these labels are not always kind and helpful. The labels I place on myself do not always reflect my true identity as a Child of God. What about you? How do you use labels to define who you are? Do they reflect the truth?
As I peel back the layer of labels in my own life, I do find some labels that are true and meaningful in the midst of those that are harmful or unkind. One label that I do not think about very often is mortal. I am mortal – my life on this Earth is finite and precious and vulnerable and beautiful and complex. The beauty of Ash Wednesday is that we are invited into the present moment to see and hold our mortality.
I hope to see you tonight at our Ash Wednesday service. May we remember as we gather together as Church, that we are beloved Children of God. I am mortal and beloved. You are mortal and beloved. We are are mortal and beloved.
Throughout Lent, as you journey closer to God, I pray you will be empowered to let go of labels that bring harm or pain into your life. I pray that you will let go of labels that get in the way of cherishing your mortality and your belovedness. I pray that you will remember, in the midst of the fragility and vulnerability of your mortality, that you are a beloved Child of God.