This Is Real

Just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—”I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak. – 2 Corinthians 4:13

If you’ve spent any time in museums or wandered wide-eyed through an ancient city, you know how it goes: After a while, your brain cannot absorb another factoid. One medieval relic begins to look like all the rest; architectural marvels lose their shine. 

“Ho hum,” you think.

I was approaching the “ho-hum” stage recently as a tour guide described the stunning artifacts privately preserved inside a large, glass-enclosed case. They included an original manuscript in Teresa of Avila’s flowery script, a special drum, a rare painting. And then the guide came to La Santa’s cape, a heavy woolen thing grandly displayed.

Suddenly her demeanor changed. She demanded our attention. Pointing to the nearly 500-year-old cape—which, according to legend, would guarantee a safe and easy delivery to a pregnant woman who had been wrapped in it—she said,

“I believe! This is real.”

It turns out that when our guide had been with child, the cloistered keepers of the cape had taken the holy relic out of the case and draped it across her shoulders. Later, after just 10 minutes’ labor, the guide delivered a perfect baby girl she named Sol (Spanish for “sun”).

“This is real!” the guide said again, her dark eyes burning with passion. She showed us a photo of herself wearing the cape, looking for all the world like a young Teresa. “I believe,” she whispered.

What if our faith were like that? What if we allowed ourselves to be wrapped in grace and then called our friends to attention to tell them the real, life-giving ways God has broken into our lives?  

Chances are, the hearers would never forget it. Chances are, we wouldn’t either.


Holy God, may I never forget the real ways you have healed me and brought me to new life. And as I know, so may I speak. 

About the Author
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.