A Word on Holy Saturday: The Death of a Dream

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Woman in Despair by Michelina Sarao

Today is known as Holy Saturday for many Christians, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a part of Holy Week, the seven days marking Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his Last Supper with his disciples, his betrayal by his disciples, his arrest, torture, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. For lack of a better phrase, it’s a helluva week.

Whenever I think about the reality of the disciples and those who followed Jesus during his life, I wonder how this week impacted them in real time. Even though Jesus alluded to things that were to come and their religious history pointed to a messianic figure who would suffer and die, I honestly get the feeling that they didn’t believe it all. They followed him because he inspired hope. Jesus empowered them to believe that anything was possible; that life could be different – full of love, relationships and connections that looked like nothing they had experienced before.

Jesus was a purveyor of hope and the people who loved him put their hope above any reality of what was or what pain was lurking right around the proverbial corner.  Continue reading

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A Word on Walking Away

walking-away

Do you remember the first time you had to walk away from someone – an intimate partner or a family member or a friend – because they did not serve you, care for you or respect you in ways that you needed them to?

Do you remember the first time you had to walk away from a way of being, from a reality that you wanted for yourself but wasn’t what God wanted for you?

Do you remember the first time you chose unhappiness over happiness because you thought that duty and obedience meant being miserable rather than experiencing a life of joy and freedom? The first time you bought the lie that suffering and sacrifice should be a norm for your life?

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. – Robert Tew

When was the last time you walked away from that which no longer served you, grew you or made you happy? Continue reading

A Word on Presence


I struggle with being in the moment. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be somewhere I’m not or know something I’ve yet to learn. I was never satisfied in the moment and this led me to constantly seek out new moments without paying attention to the life that was unfolding around me. I often missed signs and messages because I was so focused on what was to come instead of what was…

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A Word on Value

One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value.”

There’s an image that always comes to mind with this quote. It’s winter in Chicago. The ground is frozen and the winds are fierce. I’m walking from the train station home and I encounter many people walking their dogs. These pets have on coats and booties to protect their paws from the icy ground. In the same moment I pass by a person experiencing homelessness who is huddled under blankets, with newspapers stuffed in their coat to provide insulation against the bitter cold. Here is an image that greatly troubles me and reply grieves my spirit – the pet that is provided care and the human who is ignored. 

Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value…

I’ve been thinking a lot about value recently – value as defined as the amount of meaning we give to something on someone; how we understand and demonstrate one’s worth and importance. I’ve always struggled with feeling valued, with wondering if I am good enough to be worth it – to be worth loving or worth spending time with or worth committing to. This is something I continue to work on, but there are days and moments when I wonder about my worth. 

I often say that the things you hear people talk about most often are the things people struggle with on a regular basis. Well, I consistently talk about self worth and self love, two things that I am desperately trying to figure out. While I intellectually believe that I am a child of God and that this identity supercedes any other identity, my heart wonders why this designation isn’t enough; why I still seek value from things and people who are external to me. 

And this is the rub – I cannot control those things and people that are external. Any attempt I make to seek meaning from that which is outside of myself will continually end in disappointment. We cannot seek that which can only be given by the Creator from those who did not create us. My work, my relationship, my friends or my family can give me the sense of meaning, worth and identity that I do believe is given to me by God.

On some days this is easier said than believed. I’m realizing that my actions towards myself have to continue to point back to my belief that I have been created in the image of the Divine and my worth is not based on anything or anyone else. It’s not based on anything I do or say or don’t do or say. It’s based on who God is and the fact that God breathed life into me and gifted me to show up in the world as a participant in God’s plan of restoration. 

I’m still struggling with how this knowledge translates into belief and action. I want people to see what I do and say, “Rozella is a woman who values herself, honors the Divine within and loves all whom she encounters.” I’m not quite there yet but I’m  working on it. 

Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value…

A Word on #Christmas

God-Is-Love

I am an incarnation Christian – my faith in the Christian story begins with God becoming human. For this reason, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It reminds me the importance of being present and embodying themes like peace, love and joy. It reminds me that God is love and that this love is present in the world, despite what we may think. This love is a living, breathing, transforming force that overcomes hate, fear and anything that would seek to thwart God’s promise of abundant life for us all.

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#AdventUs: A Word on Birth

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I love the church. I know that I’ve said many things and written many words that may cause some to wonder, but my emotion and passion about things such as church, faith and life together stems from my deep and abiding love for God’s church. I define God’s church not as a specific denomination but as an already but not yet reality where people who recognize their identity as beloved children of God gather to worship and grow. These people then engage in their communities – local, national and global – to seek change and transformation because their faith rests in a  God of new life and healing and restoration. This is the image and practice of church that I love and this is the church that I fight for.

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A Word on Truth

Today I was honored to preach during the weekly chapel service at my denomination’s headquarters.  I found it to be quite serendipitous that the Gospel lesson was from John 8:31-36, which speaks to knowing the truth and being set free. I’ve written about that before and it didn’t go so well. Or maybe it did because it pissed some people off…

Below is my sermon from today that explores truth, what is true, how it sets us free and why it pisses us off..

Seek truth

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”[i]

This quote has long been attributed to leaders in activist movements without specifically knowing who was the first to say it. Regardless of who said it, it bears repeating: “The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.”

This leads me to three questions:

  1. What is truth?
  2. How does it set you free?
  3. And why does it piss you off?

Today’s gospel text helps in answering these questions and it does so quite simply and one might even say, quite succinctly.

Jesus is the truth.

He sets us free from bondage to sin.

This pisses us off because it goes against our human nature and calls us into a different way of being – one that is not theoretical, but actual because it is a way of being that follows the person of Jesus Christ. It causes us to change course; to die to ourselves and live anew in ways that are about loving God, loving others and loving self.

The end.

However, in true Rozella form, I can’t stop or even begin there. Let’s back up to some personal reflections. Continue reading