These are your words

This video is a slideshow of actual quotes we have received from you, our friends and our family.  This slideshow was played during Simon's Celebration of Life as John Brewer and the worship band played "Below My Feet" live.  

Over the last 10 months, we have been the recipients of some amazing words from family, friends and complete strangers.  You have been vulnerable.  You have decided to shed a piece of your old self and become something new.  You have opened yourself up to feel our pain, but also our hope and our joy.  Expressing this to us - taking the time to write or speak the words you have expressed - lifts up some of the weight of depression, death and emptiness we've felt (and continue to feel).  
We've been equipped to support and build up the body of followers of Christ.  We've been given the same words - the same education as the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists and the teachers.  We were given this so that we would no longer act like children who are tossed to-and-fro by the waves and carried away by the popular cultural beliefs of the day, or even taken advantage of by "evangelists" and friends that disguise themselves as speakers of the Truth.  Rather, speaking the Truth in love, we are to grow up - to be like Christ in every way - as Christ is the leader of His body of followers.  As leaders, we do what Christ does by holding the body together.  We all form different "joints" and parts of the body that support one another and are essential to making us whole.  We sustain and grow the body by building one another up in love and the Truth of the Gospel of Grace.  (Ephesians 4:12-16, paraphrased in my own words)
By expressing words of support, of confession and of brokenness to us, you've exercised obedience to Ephesians 4.  I speak/ write about vulnerability a lot.  Perhaps because it is not something that comes natural to me.  It is a muscle I have to exercise, a conviction I have to be intentional about sustaining or I will reel it back in and tuck it away safely in my tackle box, where no fish can be tempted to bite it.  I won't have to get my hands slimy or potentially be embarrassed by catching nothing if I don't throw out my vulnerability lure.  If I don't tell someone the truth of how I feel, I don't have to risk getting laughed at, ignored or even intellectually dominated.  

Being vulnerable is part of the growing-up process.  "Suck-it-up and be a man" is a lie.  Sweeping things under the rug only means that you are guaranteed to trip and fall on your face every time you walk over that heaping rug.  Putting a Bandaid on a gunshot wound is an invitation for death.

We've all been equipped to speak the Truth in love.  We have both the ability and the doctrine (the Bible) of the pastors, priests, speakers, writers, friends or family who display steadfast faith that we admire so much.  Once we "grow up" and seize the calling (whether it is your first or second calling) we can be supported by tons of strong, but equally broken brothers and sisters who follow Christ.  And then the surrender, the sacrifice, the completely uncool and counter-cultural aspects of being a Christian aren't so scary anymore when you are sustained by the body.  The body has tattoos and scars.  The body comes from all corners of your city, or even the Earth.  But the body is ONE - as each member is headed in the same Way.

My desire is to celebrate those who have been vulnerable and expressed sincere and thoughtful words.  But I have to mention that silence, or avoidance, from a family member or close friend is actually heard to the sufferer as an ear-deafening scream.  Many have trained themselves to be closed off - to never be vulnerable.  The Good News is, that it is never too late to get equipped.  It is never too late to feel the support of the body.  This body sustains with Living Water, so you never go thirsty. This body provides the Bread of Life, so you'll never go hungry.  You can't grow unless you walk in the light.  You can't see the light unless you roll away your stone and take that risky first step.


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