“Bloom with Audacity: The Grain and the Field” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

March 18th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

This week has been challenging to say the least. Our fervent prayers for peace and justice continue as we face more violence in the face of white supremacy, this time against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. In times of grief, community is important and I hope you will join us in community for Bible Study, Children’s Sunday School, Worship, and Soulfood Fellowship. All of which are opportunities for community this Sunday. Please reach out to the office if you have any questions of how to join one or all of these gatherings.

Friends, I want to be perfectly clear that white supremacy is a sin. It is a sin against God, the c/Church and her people. The work of the church is to build the Kindom of God here on earth through interpersonal relationship, local community engagement, and with an awareness and appreciation of the diversity of God’s widest creation. And when there is an attack by one person or whole systems, the need for our work becomes even more apparent. Because we don’t just lose a life, we lose an image of God here among us. It is in that spirit of work and covenant to each other and to God, that I invite you to read this week’s scripture and be prayerful and in discernment about what God is calling you to do in this world, and how you are or might take active steps toward that call. Let’s read together this message from John 12.

20 Among those who had come up to worship at the Passover festival were some Greeks. 21 They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put forth this request: “Please, we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew, and together the two went to tell Jesus.

23 Jesus replied,

“Now the hour has come

for the Chosen One to be glorified.

24 The truth of the matter is,

unless a grain of wheat

falls on the ground and dies,

it remains only a single grain;

but if it dies,

it yields a rich harvest.

25 If you love your life

you’ll lose it;

if you hate your life in this world

you’ll keep it for eternal life.

26 Anyone who wants to work for me

must follow in my footsteps,

and wherever I am,

my worker will be there too.

Anyone who works for me

will be honored by Abba God.

27 Now my soul is troubled.

What will I say:

‘Abba, save me from this hour?’

But it was for this very reason

that I have come to this hour.

28 Abba, glorify your name!”

A voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

29 The crowds that stood nearby heard this and said it was a clap of thunder; others said, “It was an angel speaking.”

30 Jesus answered, “It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours.

31 “Sentence is now being passed on this world;

now the ruler of this world will be overthrown.

32 And when I am lifted up from this earth,

I will draw all people to myself.”

33 By these words Jesus indicated the kind of death he would die.

[John 12:20-33 (ILB)/ Juan 12:20-33 (NVI)]

Friends, our call to follow Jesus is not one that leads to death but one that leads to eternal life. Our Bloom Books in the Bloom Bag ask us to reflect on how we lead with and how we follow Jesus, and I imagine this week’s reflections might look a little different than you had imagined. Following Jesus is hard work because we are asked to see not only the seeds we plant, but the whole wheat field it is a part of. But make no mistake, a single seed, a single step, a single smile, a single shift in our understanding of God in each other, has the lasting impact that Jesus calls us to in following him. Death is a part of this life. So is taking time to grieve and reflect on the loss. Give yourself time. Your church is here with you and for you, and God is with you always.

Shalom Yall,

Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, may my life glorify you. Amen