Feels like Me. Feels Like Home. Always Has.

Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian sitcom about a Korean family that owns a store in Toronto; it walks a tightrope telling a story about a family whose parents are first-generation and trying to work out the world. They have all the tensions of trying to figure out this life when so much seems so different. 

The first episode of the series:

  • The owner, Mr. Kim, is asked to put up a poster
  • Gets in deep, fast
  • The rest of the episode, when you see him in the store, he is busy deciding who is gay.

Appa: “Uh, regular $4.99, but this week, we have a discount only for the uh. What you is?

(DEEP VOICE) “Come again?” 

“You is what kind, transgender?”

“I’m a drag queen.”

“Oh, you is man who dress like girl? A woman.”

“Yeah.

“Why? Why you do like this?” 

“Oh, um, I don’t know. It feels like me. Feels like home. Always has.”

I am Therese. 

I am Mr. Kim 

Being seen. It’s a powerful thing. To know that another human being has truly seen you, understood you, and received you for who you really are: That is pure grace. It is being seen. Most of us would do anything for it. Being seen is what a hungry infant wants when she cries for someone to hold her and feed her. Being seen is what a tired four-year-old wants when he throws a t at the mall. Being seen is our trans siblings becoming who they are meant to be. Being seen is drag performers being all of their fabulous selves at book readings. 

“ Oh, um, I don’t know. It feels like me. Feels like home. Always has.” 

So we have this service today that breaks into the dark winter of our souls, and I believe that the Lenten team has chosen a gospel that is the very end part of the Year C lectionary for Palm Sunday. So here we are, getting the end piece of Luke telling the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem. The Pharisees are trying to check Jesus and slow him down; I do not believe they are silencing him. They want him to be a little quieter, be less noticeable by the Roman authorities, and slow down Jesus, and he can not. He has turned his face towards Jerusalem, the place where the prophets go to die, and he can not, and he will not slow down, and he can not, and he will not. He has his work, and he has to finish it. He has to be seen. In this piece, he sees it all, and the Pharisees do not see him. Being seen is everything. Doing the work that he has to do, and it is not seen, so he cries out to those around them and tries to tell them what Jerusalem is really built for, really there for, it is not home, Jesus’ actions, what he is attempting to do, to be, that is his core his incarnational self, and that is home. 

“It feels like me. Feels like home. Always has.” 

In a very rare Lenten Baptism, today we welcome Slyvie into our merry band of misfits called the church; she will be seen at 11:15. It is in the very nature of being an incarnational church. Sylvie will be marked as Christ’s own forever, and I will lift her up and show her off to you all, and I will say, let us welcome the newly baptized. 

Not that we did not welcome her before that; we did. It is the start of the life of inviting her and all of us to really live into who she is and who we are in the world. That is what we do here. 

“It feels like me. Feels like home. Always has.” 

Being seen is what this is all about, whether it is a self-identified drag queen in a convenience store or a recent immigrant trying to figure out a new world and a new way of being. We are all called to live more of who we are created to be in the world. 

The lectionary today that we have not heard of is the woman at the well. Jesus sees her and does not judge her; he tells her that he knows her and that living water is there for her as well. As she is, she avoids all the people in her village because she is judged harshly and does not want to deal with it. 

Jesus does such an interesting thing in that gospel. He lists off who she is and still offers her life abundant. 

We need to show up fully in our lives; we cannot meet people where they are. We cannot ask them to be smaller, quieter, and go unnoticed by the authorities. That is not the message of either the woman at the well or Jesus’s deep sadness about going into Jerusalem, and all that leads to his death. 

We need to demonstrate to this little one, who we are baptizing this morning, that we have to live into all of ourselves, be all of ourselves so that we can be incarnational/fully human people, and invite others in where they are. It actually is the work of baptism and of the church, and we are asking all of us to feel more fully human, 

“It feels like me. Feels like home. Always has.” 

This is the grace of the whole thing, this is all of us trying to figure out this place, this notion of god, the divine spark, all of it. We are trying to feel like ourselves because if we do not, we can not be fully human, and we can not be fully loving. If we hide parts of ourselves, of our core self, from ourselves, it is difficult to live into the love and grace this church attempts to imperfectly offer. We always need to find hope, and we always need to invite others in, even if it changes us. What I want to hear from Jesus, the planning team, Sylvie, and all the newly baptized, drag queens, trans folks, conservatives, and liberals, and the sinners and the seekers is this. 

“It feels like me. Feels like home. Always has.”