Love and the Gift of Vulnerability


We all desire love and connection, but so often, we struggle with that very desire.

We live in a culture that values rugged individualism, and we are taught (sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly) that our need for others is weak. We are told that we should be self-sufficient and self-made, and we feel as though we cannot afford to let others see us when we are sad, confused, afraid, or grieving. Above all, we believe we must “have it all together.”

I love a particular story from the Gospel of John which addresses vulnerability and the gift of being loved.

When Jesus attended a dinner with some of his friends, a woman named Mary anointed his feet with an expensive form of perfume. It became quite a controversy. We generally expect Jesus to be loving and generous, but in this story, he demonstrates how to receive love from a beloved friend. Most of all, the story is a reminder that God has chosen to be present with humanity through deep, abiding relationships of love.

The recording above is from my recent sermon at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.

Renee Roederer

[1] I am grateful to the Rev. Cindy Rigby, the W.C. Brown Professor of Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, whose language I borrowed when discussing God’s power and its relationship to vulnerability.



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