John 14:25-31
"Dos Oruguitas"

Sermon Notes

I want to do this a little different tonight. We’re going to wait a bit to watch the clip for Abuela so that you can pay attention to some things when you see it—especially because the song is in Spanish, and I don’t want you to miss the details.

You see, throughout the movie, Abuela is the one who holds the family together. She holds the miracle together—or so she thinks. It is her grief that brought it about, and it is through sheer will that she will ensure its strength. In her brokenness, she received this great gift. But over time, she comes to think that it would be through her strength that she could maintain it. 

Sadly, so often what we show as strength is not strength, at all. It is a sign of fear. I often remember what a wise woman once told me—“Hurt people hurt people.” When we hide our fear and brokenness behind a façade of strength and stoicism, we so often damage our closest relationships. We take out our fear and wounds on others.

When you watch the clip, pay attention to how Abuela walks past her children and grandchildren as they stand beside their doors awaiting her approval. They each stand tall, trying to show her what they think she’s looking for. But she walks by without even acknowledging them—she’s so focused on her own worries and fear. And as she passes, they each slump in dejection. What is fear underneath looks like disappointment and disapproval to those who need her most.

Throughout the song, we hear about the times that keep changing in a world that keeps changing. At first, this is good for the two little caterpillars. New life, new hope. But soon, the changes are frightening—wars, exile, a community seeking refuge. And as the caterpillars grow, the truth is that part of the change is also found in their own transformation. Miracles come, chrysalises come—but transformation and resurrection always and only comes after death—death of a dream, death of a way of life, death of a tradition, and yes, death of a person. 

And so, we fight against change—in our world, in our church. We balk against the possibility of something different because it means a risk. It means risking what was in order to make a way for what could be. Abuela was so frightened of losing what she had that she couldn’t see what could be—the miracle right in front of her. Her family. But in the end, butterflies emerge from chrysalises. And miracles are happening. And new life is breaking forth.

Jesus speaks words of comfort to his disciples. I leave you my peace. Do not worry. Do not let your hearts be troubled. I’m going away, but I will not leave you alone. The Holy Spirit will be with you all along the way. Yes, these are scary times. Yes, everything is changing. But even when it’s difficult and painful, new life can be found on the other side. 

New life. New hope. As we have engaged in conversations these past two years about being a welcoming and affirming congregation, I’ve seen some families leave. I’ve heard people express their fear that we’ll re-experience the trauma of 2009, when so many people walked away as the ELCA opened the doors wider in welcome of the LGBTQ community. Yes, I’ve seen families leave—in fear, in anger, in frustration that things are changing. 

But I’ve also seen new life come into this community. I’ve seen people take tentative steps in the doors, finding themselves pleasantly surprised that they are not turned away. I’ve seen encouragement and affirmation and love shown to those who have only experienced disapproval and disappointment in the past. I am witnessing resurrection life blossoming from the chrysalises here, and I give thanks to God for all of you!

Video—Abuela “Dos Oruguitas”

You’ll notice that it’s not just making room for the new. It’s also that the new, like Mirabel, need to acknowledge the foundation already built. To honor the deep love and hard work that has gone into building a community like OSLC. And so we find ways to live together, to honor each other, and to affirm one another in all that we are. That is how this miraculous community thrives as the Body of Christ.

Pastor Tobi White

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Lincoln, NE