Luke 19:28-40 Kerin Stascinsky

I’ve always been something of an outlier and non-conformist; from my head-to-toe purple obsessed childhood through to adulthood where I so often tend to have a completely different viewpoint from anyone around me and speak what feels like a foreign language at times.  I often felt that “different” meant “unacceptable.”

I believe that in our social media saturated world, this particular challenge to follow Jesus together with others while still in one’s own individual way has extended to nearly everyone else.  We live in a scrutinized world where we all feel constant pressure to conform, including with regard to our ideas of what following Jesus is supposed to look like.  Too often, we sacrifice community for sameness, and expect everyone to choose to worship in the same way.

When I was first beginning my journey of faith, there was an expectation that everyone who was a sincere Christian would have a daily quiet time first thing in the morning, that the truly spiritual got up early and did this before anything else.  Those who know me will not find it surprising that I failed spectacularly at this.  Whatever my attempts were, they certainly weren’t me offering God my best self, but rather a lot of wasted effort of me trying to be the same kind of Christian those around me were.

Somewhere along my journey, I attended an arts conference, and met artist Makoto Fujimara.  Mako is a painter, a master of an ancient Japanese style of painting called Nihonga.  He paints as part of his daily devotional time.  Beauty is what compelled him to Jesus, and is still the foundation of his times of prayer.  His worship of God with his strengths still inspires me, and has broadened the places I have become open to encountering God.  This is the moment I finally realized that my times with God can be when my best occurs, and need not be defined by what other people view as “best.”

I’m still learning to embrace being the weird person who is often like one of the two told to go randomly borrow a donkey (instead of the 10 who do more “normal” things following Jesus) in order to truly be part of those crying out “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” But I’ve learned that only by giving up on trying to merely “fit in” can I find my place in the community of worship.  For a God who could have even the rocks cry out, there is room for all kinds of oddball worshippers like me.

Prayer: For the strength to accept God’s challenges and wisdom to recognize them