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Reflection presented in Tertulia 2012: An Intimate, Transparent, Open & Honest Discussion About Sexism, Classism, Racism and ONA Issues.  This conversation was held by and for Council of Hispanic Ministries (CHM) New England Leaders.  The Topic was “I’m Hispanic, I’m UCC” 

Isaiah 43: 1 (NIV) But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Reflection Have you ever heard a question and realized that even though you think everyone should know the answer,, everyone is “dying” to know…we just simply need to hear it said aloud?!

I was not too surprised to have my Sunday school class of middle schoolers ask, “Miss, what does redeem mean?”  I grabbed a dictionary and read from Webster, “to buy back.”  The conversation that unfolded left me with a sad smile at the realization that God paid for my sins simply because HE loved me.  Simple right?

Imagine my surprise to overhear the question from an older parishioner, “Pastor, how much did God pay for me?  It couldn’t have been that much; I’m not worth it!”  This time tears sprang to my eyes.  The thought that sometimes we have been hurt so badly that we fail to realize our very worth.

I don’t know what people have said about you, but I can imagine!  Hey, they have said the same or worse about me.  Too heavy, too short, that hair is too wild!  And that is just the stuff they see.  If they only knew, what God knows.  That is where it gets interesting, because God knows the things that no one else knows and still He loves us!  If you want to know how much you are worth and how much you are loved, just open the Bible.  When times get tough and I feel worthless, the Bible reminds me that, my Creator, redeemed me and the price was steep, but He did it out of love.  Before I did a single thing to deserve it, before my parents loved me, God already loved me that much!  HE found me worthy!

My accent did not matter to God.  My past was unimportant to Him.  How much money I had in my savings account or how many bills I had left to pay, none of those matters!  And do you know why?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  True love!!  “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).  God loved us so much that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

The price for your salvation has already been paid in full…that is how much you are worth!

Prayer Lord, forgive me for not knowing my worth though you show me through your Word.  I thank you for loving me, unconditionally, even before I knew you.  Amen.

Elly is Minister of Discipleship at Manantial de Gracia “Spring of Grace” in New Britain, CT and a Cooperative MDiv student at Hartford Seminary.  She also serves on the Board for the Franklinton Center at Bricks in North Carolina.