Don‘t change- Become! Third Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 6 – June 18, 2023

Preacher: Bret Durrett

Me: Hello God.

God: Hello…

Me: I’m falling apart. Can you put me back together?

God: Uhmmmm …. I’d rather not.

Me: Why not?

God: Because you are not a puzzle to be put back together.

Me: What about all the pieces of my life that are falling to the ground?

God: Leave them there for a while. They fell for a reason. Let them be there for a time and then decide if you really need to get any of those pieces back.

Me: You don’t understand! I’m breaking up!

God: No, you don’t understand. You’re transcending, evolving. What you are feeling are growing pains. You’re getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down. Those pieces are being put into their proper place. Relax. Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need fall down. Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer meant for you. Let them fall. Let them go.

Me: But… But … Once I start doing that, what will I have left of me?

God: Only the best pieces of you.

Me: God, I’m afraid to change.


Me: Becoming, Who?

God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. I made you for so much more than those shallow shiny pieces you have decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear. Let those things fall off you. I love you! Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become! Become who I want you to be, who I created. I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember.

Me: There goes another piece.

God: Yes. Let it be like this.

Me: So… You  mean….. I’m not broken?

God: No, my beloved child. You are not broken but you ARE breaking the darkness, like dawn. It’s a new day. Become!! Become who you really are!!”


Our Gospel Reading from Matthew today is… well …. A bit…… odd if I may say so. Why? Because it offers two distinct messages that, on the surface, don’t match. For me, it is the first part that is the key message.

In the beginning of the reading, we see Jesus going out into the world and teaching about God’s love and grace. He looks on the crowds and has compassion for them because “they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a Shepherd” and he sends the 12 out to cure sickness and disease, to cast out unclean spirits, and to proclaim the Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near…

BUT, they are ONLY to go do this to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” not to the Gentiles and not to the Samaritans. Later, in the same reading, Jesus goes on to tell his disciples that they should let their peace return to them and to shake the dust off their feet as they leave a town or house that they judge to be unworthy and warns them that they will likely be ill-received, will be arrested, tried, flogged, and hated, all because of his name. Finally, he promises that the one who endures to the end will be saved. Paul, in our New Testament reading alludes to endurance as well where he writes that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Jesus wasn’t done though when he sent out the 12. Jesus sends out ALL of his disciples, he sends out us to follow his example. He tells us, “Proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.”

Jesus asks more of us than just showing sympathy. Sympathy keeps us at a distance. We see that another person has fallen into the pit, and we sincerely hope that they will find a way back out. We may even throw a rope down for them, or a flashlight and a bag lunch. At the very least, we offer our “thoughts and prayers” but that is not what Jesus is after. That is not what God is after. God is asking, pleading, cajoling us if you will to “Become who God created you to be, who God wants you to me! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion.”

Compassion is something more. If we are being honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we’ve been at the bottom of a pit ourselves. I know that I sure have been at various points in my life. And only by virtue of someone else’s compassion did we ever find our way out. So we climb down, put our arm around the person in the pit, and assure them that we won’t leave them until we both feel the sun on our face and the wind in our hair. When we embody compassion, we take an active role in the lives of those that have fallen into the proverbial pit, whether it be the pit of despair, of depression, of hopelessness, of doubt or even cynicism

In all honestythough, we’re not the ones who will get anybody else out of the pit. It is Jesus that does that. In fact, Jesus keeps doing it for us too, all the time. But Jesus wants us to show up on his behalf for others so Jesus can work through us.

Jesus urges us to take one small compassionate step at a time. Steps like kindness, humility, and patience. Courage, mercy, and generosity. God tells us again and again “I love you! Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become! Become who I want you to be, who I created. A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember.”

Those small steps, those small “becomings” may seem overwhelming and scary to you. But they’re not. Jesus is working through each and every one of them, through each and every one of his disciples, through each and every one of us. It’s how he mends the world.

So, today, when we leave this place and we go out into the world, Don’t change! Become!