“Bloom with Passion: Your Witness” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

April 15th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

On this second Sunday of Eastertide, I hope you are continuing to see God anew in our midst. Our Creating Creator calls each of us into something new with each breath we are given and what a blessing and responsibility that is. This past week I was at the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where I serve as the First-Vice Moderator of the denomination and I got to share the work that we are doing here at The Park with the wider church and help them bear witness to the living Christ in our community. I also was humbled to hear and witness the work that God is doing everywhere else. I was inspired, challenged, and filled with hope that Christ is indeed risen and doing something new in this world. Once again, I invite you to worship, bible study, Bloom in Conversation, SoulFood Fellowship, and all the other ministry that is happening here at The Park. If you have any questions, please reach out to me or Stephanie Wilson and we will help you get connected.

Dear friends, this week once again we mourn the loss of one of God’s beloved, Daunte Wright. He was a son, a partner, a father, and a beloved child of God. His life mattered. His life was holy. Our text this week talks about the responsibility we all have to preach about sin and repentance, and to bear witness to the justice seeking ways of the Gospel. All of us who follow Christ have this responsibility and are in covenant with each other and God, to hold each of us accountable to this work. I do not want to talk around this text. I want it to speak for itself. I invite you to read this passage paying particular attention to the last few lines and keeping in mind the following question, “Jesus calls us to repent for the systemic sins that took the life of both Jesus and Daunte and bear witness to God’s justice seeking ways; so, what does repentance look like in your life?” Repentance is holy work. Work for all of us. Work done with God and for God. Work that I hope we all take to heart and live out in our faith and in community. It is in that spirit that I invite us to read together these words from the Gospel of Luke.

Jesus actually stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 In their panic and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 Jesus said to them, “Why are you disturbed? Why do such ideas cross your mind? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; it is I, really. Touch me and see—a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones as I do.” 40 After saying this, Jesus showed them the wounds.
41 They were still incredulous for sheer joy and wonder, so Jesus said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 After being given a piece of cooked fish, 43 the savior ate in their presence.
44 Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke when I was still with you: everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the psalms had to be fulfilled.”
45 Then Jesus opened their minds to the understanding of the scriptures, 46 saying, “That is why the scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 In the Messiah’s name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of all this.

[Luke 24:36b-48 (ILB) / Lucas 24:36b-48 (NVI)]

My heart breaks for the continued trauma so many of God’s beloveds are forced to endure. May those that need safety, rest, and peace from the systemic sins of racism and white supremacy find what they need for as long as they need it, and may those that perpetuate and gain from these systemic sins repent and turn back towards God.

Shalom Yall,

Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O Lord, Help Us. Amen.