"People are surprised when they see me, a 16-year-old male high school student, talking about ovaries. My baseball coaches look at me a bit weird when I need off from practice to talk about ovaries. They don't ask much, and I'm always excused."

One of my favorite regular features in our denomination's monthly magazine (Living Lutheran - www.livinglutheran.com) is "I'm a Lutheran." This monthly article series shines a light on members of the ELCA who are living out their faith every day. Past articles have included an NPR reporter, a musician, a chef, an astronomer, a college student, a jewelry designer and an undocumented migrant. The May 2019 issue introduced me to Ryan Walton, a sophomore from Tucson, Arizona. His mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while she was pregnant with him. Since a very young age, he's been attending 5k’s and charity events to support researchers, survivors and those undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. Even his project for confirmation was about raising awareness for the disease. In 2018, he became a speaker at national events, including at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's annual conference. And he was recently named an "Ovarian Cancer Hero Award Winner" by Cure Magazine.

He knows it surprises others when he speaks about ovaries, and yet he keeps doing it. He uses what he has been given—a voice, an experience and his faith—to make a difference for others. He won't feel the physical effects of ovarian cancer, but he still advocates for those who will.

When we follow Jesus, we will find ourselves doing surprising things. We will advocate and support those who are undergoing struggles we don't have to. Jesus, as a member of the Trinity, didn't let his divinity deny his humanity (aka Philippians 2:5-11). Instead, he used his gifts to love the world. What gifts do you have? When was the last time you advocated for a cause that didn't impact you personally? And how does your faith shine bright for others?

See you in church!
Pastor Marc