“An Ancestor to Myself” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
“From Birth of Consciousness to the Collective Whole 6-11/14” by Torbakhopper
I don’t know about you, but I have been sitting in prayerful awe from this last week. Morning worship, our YASS event, and then the March Mass Meeting have all planted themselves in me and sprouted seeds of life. I am thankful for all those that have helped build up this community and continue to spread the word and work of God through their involvement at The Park. I hope to see you this Sunday for our 11 am worship and continue this life-giving and life-changing call to service.
I am about to talk about Christmas. I say this as a warning because I am bound to make you say to yourself “But Rev. Stephanie, it’s not even Easter yet!” and don’t I know it but stay with me for a minute. This coming week it will be forty weeks until Christmas. And although it seems so far off, forty has been a number that God uses to remind us to prepare. Lent is forty days. Noah’s flood was forty days. The Exodus was forty years of wandering. In fact, the number forty is used in the bible 126 times. So, I think it is worth taking note that we are about to hit a major forty in our faith lives.
“Now why is this relevant to this Lenten journey?” you may ask. Well, Holy Week (which starts a week from Sunday!), and Easter are the two times in the year where we are forced to focus on the humanity of Jesus. Most of the year we hear more about the abstract and heavenly nature of Jesus. However, in birth and death we face the beautiful, painful, overwhelming, and empathetic nature of Jesus’s humanity. It reminds us of the cycle of life that we too are a part of. A covenantal cycle that as people of faith we trust God will continue. Which brings us to our scripture this week from Jeremiah.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their partner, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NRSV)
I love this passage for a lot of reasons but one of the big ones is that it reminds me that our creating God is making new things every day. In three weeks, after forty days of our own wilderness, we will experience a newly risen Christ. In forty weeks from next week, we will get a new birth of life and hope. When I live faithfully into my call of service, knowing God’s love so deeply written on my heart, I am changed and made anew, making me an ancestor to myself and giving our creating God the opportunity to once again make a new covenant with me. For like Jesus, we are human. We are journeying in faith, changing with experience, and growing in love.
Church, may the you of the past, present, and future continue to covenant with a creating God, whose grace is so deeply embedded in your heart that it places the steps of your human spirit and holy design.