My last post on this blog was about the death of San Antonio's beloved Fr. Eddie. I learned of Eddie's death the day this photo was taken. I was one of the people being ordained and commissioned to serve my church as elders and deacons. On the far left, you can see my pastor, Kelly Allen.
I have put off writing about this day, and the week that followed, for some time, but as I showered and prepared for going to church this morning, these words echoed in my head: "faith, familia, trabajo." I heard them yesterday in a speech by the man I hope is our next VP. (More about that later).
Those words are embraced by people of faith everywhere, and they certainly exemplify the life of Kelly Allen.
On the Friday following my ordination, Kelly suffered a major stroke. That Sunday, her family released her body from life support, and gave her organs to save other lives. It was fitting that her last act on life was to save others. Greater love has no one.
I cannot express what a great woman Kelly was. I can say that she was a wife and mother, a foster mother, and an adoptive mother. I can say that she fought for LGBTQ rights within the church and in society. I can say that she fought for the women and children of central and south America who came here as refugees. I can say that she rekindled my faith and called me back to my family at UPC. And I know she did that for others in our community.
Here's a link to a video that tells you a bit about Kelly.
A few weeks before I was ordained, Kelly asked me (and the others) to write a statement of faith. She gave us a list of questions to serve as a writing prompt. One of the questions was, "What is your understanding of the Trinity?" The statement I wrote in response to that question surprised me. "Dang, I'm really a Christian!," I realized when I read it. I'm talking about this because one of the responses to my statement (an earlier post on this blog) is from Kelly. She said, "Can I just say I'm proud to be your pastor!" I have tears in my eyes as I type this. I am so proud that Kelly was my pastor, so blessed to have known her. And I will try to practice what she taught me: faith, familia, trabajo.
When I started my blog back in the early 2000's, it never occurred to me that I'd go through a period of posting about faith more than anything else. But here we are.
I go today to hear my friend Nancy List Pridgen preach with a text of the poems, letters, and life of Emily Dickinson--one of my first teachers of the Spirit.
These are difficult times. The world feels on edge. But we are called to love, to make the world better through love. In life and in death, we belong to God.