We Have Enough

Today I preached from the Gospel of John 6 chapter, which tells the story of the 5000 (plus because women and children were not counted). The Gospel of John is the only gospel that shows where Jesus uses a boy’s meal, five loaves of barley and two fish, to feed 5000 plus people. I am fascinated by the boy, who is not counted among the 5000, but is a participant in the ministry of Jesus. I love that Jesus has a child to teach us how to share with each other. I also love that Jesus shows us that we often miss what and who is right in front of us, that offers us provision and blessings, because we often look for something or someone greater, larger or popular. But Jesus uses a boy, a child, after asking the adults how can we feed the folks. The adults could not see the possibility. The adults even shrugged off the idea that the boy had enough to feed the folks. Jesus uses what the boy has, five barley loaves and two fish, and it is enough!

We have enough. We have enough to share with the world. We have enough to feed those who are hungry. We have enough to house those who are homeless. We have enough to provide fair funding in education that all children will have the opportunity to succeed. We have enough to provide health care for everyone. We have enough to end poverty. We have enough to offer love. We have enough. The question is do we see the possibility or do we act like the adults and just shrugged the thought of even trying. Can we be like the boy with the five loaves and two fish? Can we allow ourselves to share our enough? Can you imagine if I share the little I have, you share the little you have, someone else share the little they have, the possibility of all having enough. Come on, see the possibility with me! I believe we can make that little boy proud!

Be a blessing my friends!

Rev. Jacqui P

Creating Faith

The word “faith” have multiple meanings. I am learning as I get older that what I thought was faith no longer applies at this moment in my life. I understand that faith will probably not mean the same for me ten years from now, which is good, because it means I am growing and constantly involving.

Faith does not necessarily equal religion. Faith is a practice that moves with us in the journey of life. Faith is what we create. I believe that faith is unique to the person and it is unfortunate that many of us have tapped into someone else’s definition of what faith should look like. We have tried desperately to be clothe in a faith that does not cover or fit. I remember when folks in church would say, “We need the kind of faith our grandmama’s had.” Why is that? Is it because we are afraid of our own struggles?

My faith, I create daily, even by the minute, I create faith. My faith helps me to arise in the mornings, not always cheerful, but always willing. My faith helps me to discover how I move in this world; if I am kind; if am giving; if I am loving. My faith comforts me when I am tired and allows me to sit and binge watch ‘Grace and Frankie.’ My faith fills my vase with fresh flowers and listen to the soulful sound of the late and great, Phyllis Hyman. My faith teaches me to pray in a voice that does not belong to anyone else and my faith demands to be heard. My faith does not harm or abuse or persecute others. My faith supports, offers justice and shows up for the well being of others. My faith is powerful, because I am powerful. My faith is loving who I am.

What does your unique faith look like? Does your faith expressively define you? Create! Grow! Create again! Your faith looks good on you!

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Holy Quietness

On this Sunday, July 4th, it is rather quiet on my street. Families have left for vacation, many at the beach and I am loving the quietness. Sitting down to graham crackers with a slice of banana and a cup of tea, smiling to myself like I am getting away with something. This moment, this quiet, feels so peaceful. Should not I be waiting on some disturbance to blast from out of space and shake me to my core? No! This wonderful quietness is a blessed gift. This sweet, and holy quietness is to be treasured, so I will hold on to this fragrance as long as possible. In fact, let me share some of this quiet peace with you, my friend.

Find a quiet corner for yourself and sit. It does not require a chair, sitting on the floor will be just fine, but just make sure you can get up when it’s time. These old bones ain’t what they use to be. Bring a cup of tea with you if you like, along with some butter cookies. Sit and think about all the amazing and wonderful things you have accomplished. Things like teaching a child how to tie their shoes; making a holiday meal for your entire family; learning all the words to your favorite song and performing it at the karaoke bar; saying just the right words to encourage someone; waking up this morning and seeing possibilities that are endless. In your quiet corner, you notice how amazing you are. In your quiet corner, you see how powerful you can be. In your quiet corner, you discover there is a peace that shines within you. In your quiet corner, there is your Creator sitting next to you and applauding you for realizing everything you need is already within you.

Treasure time with YOU today. YOU are so worth it!

Be bless my friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Dad

I never knew my Dad. Actually, I never met him but he met me. You see, I was adopted. My Dad never had a say in this adoption. I wonder if he knew he could have a say. It was 1959, the girl was 15, her Daddy was a pastor at the Black church, it was the South and the boy knew only to stay away.

They, who knew the story of my birth, told me my Dad stood at the window while my Mom pushed me out. In the country , black babies are delivered by a midwife in a grey wooden house, with one window, no back door, way back in the woods, where no one will hear the teenage mamas’s screams. They tell me my Mom passed out from the pain. My Dad stood looking in the window and the adults brushing him away, telling him to move now, he had no business there.

The other story is that my Dad found me, so they say. I believe them. They say I was about five or six years old, riding my tricycle in our front yard. It’s interesting that my adopted family was only twenty mies away from the grey wooden house with the one window, where the teenage mamas scream. They say my Dad drove in our yard, got out of his car, walks towards me, looks down at me and ask, “Do you know who I am?”. I guess I said no. In my mind, I can imagine seeing this tall, elegant black strong man, smiling at me with glistening teeth, a brightness in his eyes. This moment had to be so special for him. The man says back to me, “Well, I am your big brother.” They say I just rode away on my tricycle and my Dad got back in his car and drove away.

I hold on to these stories. I am so grateful that no one pushed my Dad away when he drove up in our yard to see me and speak to me, if only for a few minutes. I can only imagine how nervous he was and how grateful he was that no one stopped him from approaching me. I really wished I knew my Dad. He died. The last story they tell me was horrible. My Dad was killed by a police officer. I hold on to this story too. I wonder before he was killed by that officer, if he knew he had a say and if he used his voice to scream out, “I have a daughter who likes to ride her tricycle!”

I love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day.

Be Well My Friends,

Rev. JacquiP

The Struggle is Real

There is a struggle as you embrace your authentic self. To “Be” causes one to look inward and not only deal with the awesomeness of you but also deal with the “ugly stuff” that has been placed in your mind, body and soul by others and yes, also by you. Often, to get along in this world means there are things we have embraced knowing that those things don’t feel right or set right in our spirit. Inwardly we know what is good but instead we choose what is not. It is even crazy that we choose what is not good because in actuality, we choose what is not good to be accepted and loved, until it no longer becomes our choosing but instead becomes a demand to be who we are not.

So how do you break out of a cocoon without the struggle? Sweetheart, you can’t without the struggle. The struggle is necessary because it is the push that keeps you moving everyday to love you. We struggle in relationships with our partners, our children, our careers, making ourselves fight for the people and the things that we love. It is not always pleasantries coming home from a long day of work to put food on the table or listen to our partners’s complaint of their day, but in this struggle, we find that dinner is served and we listen to their complaints. It is in this same way, that we must struggle to be and see that beautiful authentic self, because we love and care for ourselves the way we love and care for others. Because you are worthing fighting for; because I am worth fighting for. You are worth the struggle.

Learning to “Be” is taking the time to listen to your body, mind and spirit. Getting real with yourself; taking inventory of yourself; purging what needs to leave and watering the beauty that requires growth. The struggle will not always last because as soon as you realize how much you love yourself, baby, your walk becomes lighter, your head is raised higher and your arms sway with a stride that hits the ground and leaves behind glitter from your soul.

Are you loving yourself yet?! I am!

Be Well my Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

“Walk Together Children, Don’t You Get Weary!”

There is a new rising happening, not just in our country, but globally. We are beginning to hear new voices, new songs that resonate love and freedom. There are more people who are not afraid to stand with the vulnerable and ones that so-called Christians have deemed to be unworthy. In fact, we who are followers of Jesus the Christ, are taking back a religion that has been categorized as un-just, unloving, unkind, and just down right hurtful. We are working together for a just society, where all of God’s children are free, where all have enough to live, where all are loved and have a right to be loved.

I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus who stood before the hierarchy of his day and demanded health care for all to be well and enough food for all to eat. I am a follower of Jesus who spoke and stood with women whose society called them prostitutes and shun them when they were unmarried. I am a follower of Jesus who allows children to share their ideas with community, making room for them to lead. I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus who stands and speaks truth to power before a Roman Empire and the church that supports a government that bows down to the highest corporate bidder. I am a follower of Jesus who cries when black boys and girls, women and men, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Walter Wallace, Jr., so many more, are killed by police. I am a follower of Jesus who shows love and compassion to all, not based on their religious ideologies, but based on only love! I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. I am a Christian.

So in my voice to all of you who have the audacity to believe that health care will be provided to all, food will be plentiful for all, jobs will pay livable wages so that all mothers can take care of their children, there will be places that all can live and be happy, there will peace among nations, my children can love who they love, that we are endowed by the Spirit of our Creator to do all we can to make this world a more loving and safe place. I say to you, keep walking, don’t get weary!

We can do this y’all! I know there are moments, shucks, there are months, years, where many feel like we are constantly going around in circles. Reminds me of the Exodus story; Moses trying to lead folks who were complaining about nothing ain’t happening. Well, I got news for you. We still complaining, but we still walking, we still moving! Don’t give up now. It is better to love than to bow down before a wicked, unjust system. Keep moving, keep fighting, there is a great camp meeting in the promise land!!! That promise land is just around the corner!

Listen as the Fisk University Jubilee Singers (2020) uplift their rendition of the song, “Walk Together Children”, by Moses Hogan. (*I do not have rights to this music)

Happy Juneteenth! Happy Pride!

Be Bless My Friends!!

Rev. JacquiP

Why?

I recently received an email from a group I am a part of, asking me to participate in taking a Myers-Briggs personality test and share it at our next gathering, so we can see how we can “effectively work” together. The group, I believe, is an advocacy group. I think. The group is still trying to figure out who they are; yes it is complicated. I am not knocking Myers-Briggs. I believe it is a handy tool for personal growth. But I am struggling with participating and coming back to a table with a description of my personality that dictates to you how I will fit into the group or dictates to you how you will better control my actions to fit into the group. I am feeling this is all about judgement and I am having a tough time accepting this request. Should I be struggling with this?

There is something about being isolated for over a year. Over the past year, I have reflected on my self-worth. I realize that I no longer will tolerate anyone or anything that believes I must first prove myself to them to fit in. Not gonna happen! There are lessons I gained and maybe others gained as well, that as awful as this time is or was, we found a piece of ourselves that we had hidden beneath a pile of debris so deep, that we thought we lost all site of our beauty. But because we found time to breathe, to be, forced to deal with who we always were, this hidden beauty rose up out of the burial ground and reminded us of our worth.

This is the thing for me here…I am not afraid of the personality test. I am afraid of sharing the personality test with the group. Why? Because now I wonder how the group will perceive me going forward. How do they view me now? What actions would they allow me to lead or not lead because under the personality with my name on it, they have power to decide how we can “effectively work” together.

Why do you say I am struggling with this? I am reminded when this group first started. One person came up to me and said, “We were wondering what type animal you are, whether you were a lion, a bear, or some other type. It’s hard to pinpoint who you are.” I took offense then. I’m taking offense now. Why do you need to pinpoint who I am? For those who have worked on your self-esteem and are still working through rough patches; for those who have gone through the pain of breaking the cycle of always being down on yourselves; for those who are still climbing out of the spaces that tried hard to keep you hidden from your glorious selves; keep going, even in the midst of asking the question, “why?” Y’all I need to be my best self and unfortunately this group will never get to know the best of me. Oh well!

You are. I am. And that’s all that matters!

Be Blessed my friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Ten Years!

This is us, attending a protest rally in Pennsylvania to fight for fair and equitable education for all children!

I found love late. But hey, I found it!! We are celebrating ten years of marriage. I know for some couples who have been together for way over 10 years, this is just a drop in the bucket. Ten years for us is triumph. Both of us coming from places of hurt and finding each other when we doubted that we would ever experience someone who could love someone who is broken. Somewhere in the universe, we were drawn together. Okay, we were drawn together via MATCH.COM! This is not a plug, it just is what it is, this is how we met and we are perfect for each other.

My husband is White Midwest German and Lutheran. I am Black Real Southerner and Methodist. We grew up in different worlds. My husband grew up ice fishing. I grew up running behind chickens. We both grew up poor. But in his poor and white world, he had privilege and opportunity; in my poor and black world I had hope. In his world he could walk in his neighborhood without the thought of someone yelling at him a derogatory name. In my world, well sometimes walking was a risk. My husband and I ask the questions, “Would we have noticed each other in our twenties?” “Could he bring me home in the early seventies to meet his family?” “Or could I?” We both said, “Probably not!” We were too busy living for others’ expectations of us. But thank God for breaking out of a world that would not be able to define us.

There is something about Love! You can’t stop it. At every turn, Love always finds a way to shine among decades of oppressive systems that stifle and control your being. Love wins at every single corner, every single day, every single moment.

Ten years y’all! I found love and you know what, it wasn’t late! Love was right on time!!

Be Bless my friends!

Rev. JacquiP

A Different Path

I walk at least three miles, three times a week. I enjoy walking, attached my EarPods and listen to something meditating or walking to the stories of amazing Black women in history, offered by GirlTrek, “a national health movement that helps Black women to be change makers in their lives and communities, through walking”; I love this organization started by two powerful young Black women! I always walk the same route, simply because I know the path will get the mileage results I want. One day, I extended an invitation to my daughter to join me on one of my walks; I did not think she would accept because in reality I really enjoy walking by myself, but when she said yes, how could I say I was just joking, right?

We started walking my route, me leading the way. I turned my EarPods off so that I can be present with my daughter. Turning off the sounds in my ear to hear someone, something else, was difficult. I was so concern about getting my three miles in and I’m pretty sure this is all my daughter heard, me constantly saying, “I try to do three miles”, “Am I walking to slow?”, “We doing three miles okay?” Somewhere on my path, my daughter says to me, “Hey Mom”, let me show you the path I take. Me, “Will it get me my three miles?” My daughter responds, “It might.” Me, still worried her path will not get me where I needed to be.

Our view of life can sometimes lead us to stay on a path that is safe and one only we control. We allow no changes, no risk taking, no amusement rides. We experience the same environment, the same smell, the same routine, because it is easier. Or is it because we may be afraid to walk a different path because different makes us uncomfortable. Maybe it’s time to venture out and check out a different path, still moving towards your results, but just being open to a universe with so many possibilities that leads you to where you believe you need to be.

On the path my daughter charted out for us, in our same neighborhood, I discovered a street layered with trees that draped like canopies. I saw homes a block away from ours, that had amazing windows where the sunshine sparkled against them and sent a ray of gold down the middle of the street, making us feel like we were were walking down a yellow brick road. I was not aware so much beauty lived just around the corner. On this different path, I discovered something new about myself. I learned that I can’t do life alone. I must share my path with others, as they share with me, walking sometimes in different directions, but appreciating the path we all have chosen. Yes, I got the result I needed. We walked three miles, but that day, I experienced my daughter’s path and it was beautiful!

Take a different path, even in your own backyard. Discover something new about yourself, about your love ones, your neighbors, about this world. We are all trying to get to that same place – a place of love, a place of acceptance, a place of belonging.

Happy Trails! Be blessed my friends!

Rev. JacquiP