Hey there friends,
I hope this note finds you and your families happy and healthy. In the Episcopal Church, we read scripture in church every Sunday: usually, an Old Testament reading, a psalm, and a Gospel reading. The readings are assigned in a three-year cycle called the Revised Common Lectionary. Sometimes, meaning seems to leap off the page and it’s easy to make connections between the text and the lives we live, individually and as a community. This week, however, I have been struggling to make sense of the text from John that I’ve been asked to preach about. It ends with John 3:16, arguably the most widely quoted verse in the New Testament. However, the story that precedes the well-known passage is a little trickier to dissect. In it, Jesus says to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” There are lots of scholarly interpretations of this scene, but for me, it makes me think a lot about what it means to be reborn or “born again.” It’s a term that some of us embrace and others eschew. Scholar Judith Jones puts some helpful language around it when she writes, “Unless Nicodemus allows God to change his whole way of being in the world, he will not be able to perceive God at work.”
I wonder — what experiences in your life, have caused you to be reborn in the sense of having your whole way of being changed in a way that allowed you to perceive God at work? For me, the more I learn about how trauma impacts us, especially kids, it’s hard to unsee the connections. Our book study with Encompass Adoptees has been a wonderful but also sometimes difficult dive into this subject, but what’s been helpful is the assertion that the author, Donna Jackson Nakazawa makes, that hope and healing are possible. Coupled with risk factors in a child’s life are protective factors — the things that allow them to exhibit resilience and ultimately to thrive. The good news for me is that we, as foster and adoptive parents, have the capacity to be a part of cultivating hope and healing in kids. As I see it, this rarely looks like a breakthrough moment or mountaintop experience, but rather it’s the slow work of affirmation, honoring, and creating spaces of joyful belonging for kids that makes the difference, day in and day out, and for the long haul.
We have a few opportunities to create spaces of joyful belonging with each other and our families this month:
On Thursday, March 9th from 11:30-12:30 we will be continuing our collaboration with Encompass Adoptees. In this virtual lunchtime gathering, we’ll be exploring the third chapter of the book “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal” by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. A training certificate will be provided.
On Saturday March 18th from 10-11:30 we will be hosting our third of three art experiences at Visionaries + Voices in Northside. All types of families and kids of all ages are welcome! Coffee and pastries will be served. An RSVP is helpful so we know how many to expect.
Our Zoom support group will meet on Wednesday, March 22nd from 8-9pm. A training credit certificate will be provided. This is an informal, supportive space.
I hope you can join us. In the meantime, reach out if we can support you in any way. I love hearing from you.