“Bloom with Audacity: Flip It!” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

March 4th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope that this week is calling you into new and bold spaces – audacious moments with God. Maybe you find that courage and audacity in your Bloom bag journal reflections? Maybe you realize it’s not something you need, but something you already have. No matter where you are on your audacious journey with God, we are here to love and support you. We hope you have marked your calendar to join us for the conversation happening tonight, where Pastor Kaji will be interviewing the Manhattan DA candidates. This race will affect everyone no matter where you live, so we hope you can join us. Sign up for the link here. We also look forward as we do every week to coming together to worship God and nurture the works that have been started in our lives. This Sunday is also a YASS Sunday and Wednesday is Bloom in Community hosted by Trevor Allen! No matter what ministries you attend, we are always grateful you are a part of this beloved community.

Friends, this week our scripture contains one of my favorite versions of Jesus.

A question I get often is, “what is your favorite version of Jesus?” (and if you have never been asked this, I invite you to think about your own answer). And my answer has always been John 2’s Jesus. When we talk about Jesus we often talk about the softer sides of his love and communal engagement. And with good reason, we as a society generally value brute strength over emotional vulnerability, so talking about Jesus’ vulnerable ways is always helpful. But today’s Jesus is troubled. He is destructive. He is angry. This passage invites us into spaces of holy anger for justice’s sake and for that I am always thankful. Let us read today from the Gospel of John.

13 Since it was almost the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 In the Temple, he found people selling cattle, sheep and pigeons, while moneychangers sat at their counters. 15 Making a whip out of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the Temple—even the cattle and sheep—and overturned the tables of the money changers, scattering their coins. 16 Then he faced the pigeon sellers: “Take all this out of here! Stop turning God’s house into a market!” 17 The disciples remembered the words of scripture: “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

18 The Temple authorities intervened and said, “What sign can you show us to justify what you’ve done?”

19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 They retorted, “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to raise it up in three days?” 21 But the temple he was speaking of was his body. 22 It was only after Jesus had been raised from the dead that the disciples remembered this statement and believed the scripture—and the words that Jesus had spoken.

[ John 2:13-22 (ILB)/ Juan 2:13-22 (NVI) ]

I know this may not be the Jesus we talk about most often and I don’t know about you, but “Holy Anger Jesus” is the one I call on most in these days. He reminds me that I need to disrupt the systems in my life that do not align my faith and actions. I need to follow Jesus not just in my love but in my anger as well. I need to take stock in my life and the systems that I serve and serve me and utilize my holy anger to flip the structures of power for the equity and justice of God’s people.

Friends, what do you need to flip the oppressive structure in your life that you support and are supported by? We all have them, and we all have a way out of them- if we follow Jesus in his fullness.  Friends, this journey of lent is one that calls us into reflection of self and community and the change that comes from reflection is best done in holy community. I am grateful to be in community with you and if you need help shifting a system in your life – we’re here to help you flip it.

Shalom Yall,

Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, help me use my holy anger for your good work. Amen