"The story goes something like this: A
little girl couldn’t sleep one night because the shadows in her bedroom looked
long and dark. Frightened, she begged her parents to let her join them in their
bed where she knew she would be safe. But her parents assured her she would be
fine in her own room.“After all,” they said, “God is with you even when you are
alone. Won’t that help you not be afraid?”The little girl shook her head.
“Sometimes: she replied, “I need someone with skin on.”~Ellyn Sanna, Touching God
skin on. I need that, too, don’t you? I had heard this story sometime ago but
ran across it again at the retreat center where I am staying for a few days.
This is an annual retreat in which it is my privilege to hear the stories and
the dreams of those coming for ordination in the
with many levels which moves people, eventually, toward full ordination, to
serve churches throughout our state. It is always a holy time for me. To be
privy to people’s stories of how God has moved in their lives. To hear how they
feel called to a life of faith sometimes at great sacrifice. To hear the
surprises of how the Holy nudged, sometimes pushed them to make a life out of
listening, praying, worshiping and being present to the significant and
ordinary life experiences of others.To read their reflections on the creeds and
doctrines written years ago, making sense of them for today. It is always a
rich and, sometimes, emotional few days. It is something I do not take lightly.
Woven throughout all the stories and words of
these candidates for ministry are many examples of ‘God with skin on’. None
came to this place in their life without flesh and blood people who guided,
encouraged, and challenged them. None came to this moment without real live
people praying over them, supporting them, leading them and loving them. God
with skin on. When the shadows of their lives threatened to overcome them,
someone with skin on showed up to urge them on, help them feel safe and secure
It is my prayer,
that as we interview these people for ministry, they will see and experience us
as God with skin on. While our questions may startle or challenge, I pray that
we will be the face of the Holy in their midst. It is my hope that we
will all recognize the sacred act in which we are engaged as we hone a
relationship with future spiritual leaders of the church and the world.
Your day may not
bring any deep spiritual questions. You may not be required to give a
definition of salvation or be asked what you believe the nature of evil to be.
But whatever your experiences of this day, may you have at least one experience
of God with skin on. And may you return the blessing to another.