“Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’” DEVOTION BY Kim Dorr-Tilley
“Born from above?”
I’m old and stuck in mud. I’m a creature of dust and earth and death. I’ve crawled to you in shadows, sought you out in hiddenness. I’m aware of shame and guilt and fear…
“Born from above?”
I’m entrenched in LAW, cause and effect, the righteous flourish and the wicked perish. (I’m dreadfully afraid I’m one of the wicked.) I crawl to you out of – what? Hope? Fear? Curiosity? Yes, all of these things. But I’m old and stuck in mud...
“Born from above?”
What on earth do you mean?? Why do you speak in riddles and nonsense? What am I doing here? What if someone sees me with you or hears me hearing you say such gibberish? Are you making fun of me? Ridiculing me because I’m old and stuck in mud?? What on earth do you mean by this??
“Born from above!”
Oh…wait, you’re not talking about things on earth. I am of the earth. How can I see the Kingdom of God? (Oh, how I long to see the Kingdom of God!) Who has seen the Kingdom of God? Everyone is on the earth and of the earth. We’re all creatures stuck in mud. People of dust and earth and death.
Except for you, Jesus. You seem quite different. That’s why I’ve crawled to you in my darkness.
Are you born from above??
Have YOU seen the Kingdom of God??
You speak as though you have. You speak as though you’ve been there. You speak as though you’re from there…
“BORN FROM ABOVE…!”
You are a different creature, Jesus. One entirely not like me or anyone I’ve ever known. YOU must be born from above! You MUST have seen the Kingdom of God. I suddenly believe this with my whole heart even though I don’t know what it means. You are trying to teach me something, to show me something, to MAKE ME SOMETHING…
Something quite different.
Someone born from above.
Can it be? Can I be… born from above?
I am no longer old. I am new. I am no longer stuck. I am free. I am no longer a creature of dust and earth and death. I am something… entirely different. INTRODUCTION
Hi, I’m Kim Dorr-Tilley, and BAC is the only church I’ve ever known. I was “born from above” in 1993. Delivered out of darkness just like old Nicodemus. Praise God! A friend brought me here, and I’ve been here ever since. God, through this congregation, has discipled me and grown me and guided me. My areas of ministry are in Community, Connection, New Members, Prayer and getting to love and serve with all of you! MY MEAL MEMORY
I have a very distinctive memory of a meal. I was 17 years old and participating in the State Speech Tournament in Colorado. I was doing really well. After my last round, my Dad came by the school where the tournament was being held. It was odd for my Dad to come to a tournament. No one ever came to Speech Tournaments; just us nerds who were on the team and our coaches were there. My Dad said my brother (who was older and judging a different field) had called him to say he’d seen my scores from the day and thought I might win. So Dad stopped by.
We had to wait for other competitions to finish before the awards ceremony so we went to get a hamburger across the street at Wendy’s. I was hungry and excited by my day. Right before I took my first bite of the burger, I asked my Dad how Nana was doing (my mom’s mother, Nana, had been in the hospital for a few days.) That’s when Dad told me Nana had died earlier that day. I couldn’t swallow. I had no spit in my mouth. Everything was dry. I had to spit out the bite of hamburger. Nana was the only grandparent my brother and I ever knew as a grandparent – as our NANA. I was lost, crushed, beyond sad.
Then, it was time to go back for the awards ceremony and find out who won the Tournament. Except I could care less now. When my name was announced as the winner, I saw one person at the back of the auditorium shoot out of his seat – my brother. My brother, four years older than me, was always distant from me. The only reason I was on the speech team at all was because HE had been on the Speech Team and I pretty much just wanted to do what he did to try to get closer to him. But he never noticed. Until that night. He didn’t know yet that our Nana had passed away. He only knew he was proud of me that night. I remember in that moment, when I saw my brother express LOVE for me, a feeling that my Nana had given me my brother that night - a relationship that I’d never had in the wake of one I would never forget. To this day, I can remember that bite of hamburger in my mouth that I couldn’t swallow. Though it would be years before I came to know Jesus, Jesus was there with me that day. My Nana loved Him. And she loved me. And somehow, I knew more of love that day than loss.
My challenge to you: Have a meal this week with someone who might not know you love them. Let them know.