"When we choose to wonder about people we don't know, when we imagine their lives and their stories, we begin to expand the circle of those we see as part of us. We prepare ourselves to love beyond what evolution requires."

Valerie Kaur, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love

My friend who lives in the greater Chicago area is the pastor of a UCC church. A couple weeks ago, she incorporated these words into her sermon, referencing the experience of having been in Valeri Kaur’s presence, savoring her words and wisdom, and being able to meet and share with the author following the presentation. She spoke of knowing it was a holy time and that the space they shared was sacred. In her sermon, my friend shared a personal memory remembering how an initial meeting and first impression almost sent a friendship she now enjoys in a path of never having a chance to develop! Had this person not spoken words that caught the attention of my friend, a bad first impression ultimately grew into a curiosity-laden time of getting to know each other’s stories. I am a strong believer in getting curious around people’s stories . . . not in an invasive manner, but with genuine curiosity.

This weekend we will bring out for a month’s stay, twelve photos and writings entitled, QUEER FAITH STORIES. They come to us from First Congregational Church in Camden. They will be placed around the church, in spaces allowing for close viewing. Each photo includes a personal story. They are journey tales. Expressions of living lives challenged by culture and changed by a spirit of growth. These are stories of interior growth. These are stories of people like me.

This exhibit, along with being a visual and scripted display brings moments for the viewers to stop and wonder about each person’s personal journey. Not only their family of origin’s story, or their academic accomplishments, or their personal and professional challenges and victories. These are people whose lives are marked by deliberate “pauses” when something around them, emotional or societal brought them to think they were any less than perfectly made in God’s image.

For some, the pauses happen, they’re named and healed. For some they are more than pauses, they’re delays or roadblocks. Those journeys are more challenging. Some never come to know the affirmation we hear in the Genesis creation story: "God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good."

Get curious. Not just around this exhibit of photos and stories at church. Be in the joy of wondering about people and their life stories.

Holy One, we are passionately and wonderfully made. Each of us with an inventory of stories about our origins and about who we are becoming. We celebrate that you are still speaking in our life stories!

More Devotionals

Let there be Light

By: Todd Rider

"For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."

2 Corinthians 4:6

Turn Around

By: Rev. Ron Kurtz

"See what great love God has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

1 John 3:1

Night Sail to Rockland

By: Mark Patrick

"See what great love God has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

1 John 3:1

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