Growing in Love of God and Neighbor

Youth Sunday Sermon

Ms. Alexia Shepherd
Youth Sunday
Trinity Episcopal Church
Moorestown, New Jersey
February 10, 2019

Lord, give me strength in my weakness, give me faith in my fears and give me power in my powerlessness. Amen.

“For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am and his grace toward me has not been in vain.” Let that sink in for a moment.

“For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am and his grace toward me has not been in vain.” These are very powerful words from the first Corinthians. What does this mean to you?

When I think of this passage, I feel that when we do things we aren’t supposed to do or aren’t right, we feel like we have sinned against God, but when we come to church on Sunday’s we do our confessions to God. We’re basically asking God for his forgiveness for what we have done and of course he forgives us because we are God’s children, he loves us dearly and knows that we made a mistake and we repent doing them. We all make mistakes at some point in our lives, we aren’t perfect. But we can either fix them right away or work hard to fix them. I mean he sacrificed his life for us so we could go home to him when it’s time. During my time of being sick, hurt and/or struggling, not only did I have God, I had my moms, my close friend’s and my church family’s love, prayers and support. My mom and I have been here at Trinity for almost 9 years and ever since the first day that we got here, we felt at home and very welcomed, we knew that this church was where we belonged. Also, during elementary and middle school years, I was bullied a lot. I would come home in tears because my “friends” betrayed me and I was a loner. I didn’t have a friend that I could really rely on or trust, because I felt like they would betray me. Towards the end of Freshman year of high school, I was in the worst state of depression. I hated everything about me. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere, that I was alone, not good enough, a failure, not smart, not pretty, worthless and not talented. I even compared myself to other girls, I was disgusted with myself and mostly I just hated myself. Then towards the beginning of my sophomore year of high school and still continuing today, I realized that not only does their opinion of me not matter, they shaped me into who I am. That may sound weird but now I’ve realized that I’m a very beautiful, talented, unique, independent and loved young adult. The only opinions that matter to me are by myself, my loved ones and God. I really want to thank all of you for your love, prayer and support. The people I really want to thank are; Mother Emily, Deacon Leslie, my godparents, Maris and Vernon Williams, my counselor, Lynn Delaurentis, my best friends; Jasmine, Cyarra, Angie and Corey.Lastly but not least I wanna thank my wonderful mom, Lenny. You guys have always been there for me and I can’t thank you enough for all of your love, prayer and support. God was the one who really watched over me, made sure that I see myself as what I am now and brought these great people to surround me. God has a plan set out for me and I will make sure to listen to him and do what he’s asking me to do. Everyday is a new day. I have learned that you can always start fresh each day, by being kind to everyone you meet, even if you really don’t like certain people, just kill them with kindness. Anyway, start each day fresh and if you make a mistake, try to fix it or make up for it as much as you can. No matter what you do, God is always watching and he forgives us for what we have done.

There’s a saying from my favorite romance movie, ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green. The saying is “If you want the rainbow, you have to deal with the rain.” The reason I bring this up is because it’s saying that even though you have bad days, where either nothing seems to be going your way or you feel like you’re being targeted, whatever the case may be, just let it go because there are going to be better days to get that rainbow. Don’t give up, keep trying and always have faith and hope and you will get through whatever it is you’re going through or dealing with. Also if you are ever having a bad day or you just need to talk, go to the people that you trust the most and just tell them what’s going on and I can guarantee that you will feel better. If you just free yourself of that unwanted emotion that you’ve been holding onto for so long. If you can’t tell someone that’s close to you then find a quiet place, whether it be in your car, your bedroom, or anywhere where you can be by yourself for a few minutes, talk or pray to God. It may sound weird or feel funny, but it works. God is listening to you and is there to help you feel better.  I do this just about all the time. Like for today when I got up this morning I said “Lord, let me deliver this Sermon in peace, and let me find the courage to not stumble or mess up too much. You are my strength and my redeemer for all time.” I even do this when I’m about to take a test in school, when I‘m about to go up and perform either here at church or at school to chase those little nerves away. Heck, I sometimes just talk to God when I’m in my room just relaxing.  I always feel his presence, like he’s right beside me and I know that I’m alright and I’ve done the best I could do for the day. So try and pray or talk to God whenever you want to and see if that makes a bigger change in your days throughout your life.

When I was in that state of depression in the end of my Freshman year, I was that unfit apostle because I felt unworthy and self-conscious of myself. But with, not only my loved ones, but especially with God, I felt his grace in the beginning of my sophomore year and still feel it today. I feel God’s grace and I know that I am what I am with that confidence, love, faith, support and most importantly the grace that God really has given me to make sure that I’m exactly as I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Amen.



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