“Bloom with Pride: The Stories We Tell” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

June 24th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

The Park with Beloved and Proud in 2019


Happy Pride! I know we have been Blooming with Pride and celebrating all month- and let’s be honest The Park celebrates Pride all year round- but this Sunday is the day that we join others around the city, nation, and world to boldly proclaim that our LGBTQIA+ siblings are prophetic leaders of the church and their wholeness is made in the image of God and is celebrated and loved by God and The Park. We are so glad you are joining us this Sunday as we bring Minister Candace Simpson back to our pulpit and celebrate with our whole community the work God is doing with and amongst us. Be sure to join us for Bible Study and Children’s Worship as well! Also, if you would like to join the  Queer Liberation March or watch online be sure to see the graphic further down in this newsletter. It is such a wonderful time of celebration and love yet we as a community also offer lament for the times and spaces that the world has not been hospitable or loving toward God or God’s beloveds. May we know better, do better, and love better in the name of God.

This week we are in the book of Mark with a story that many of us know. It is the story of Jesus’s miracle of healing the young girl. I have always been drawn to this passage as I think it encompasses so much of the human experience. Grief, hope, loss, love, anxiety, and the need for snacks! After a year in which so many of us lost loved ones, this story hits especially hard as we know that our loved ones won’t come back to life, but we also know that they live forever in the God’s beloved kindom and in the loving care of our memories. I also find this story hard to imagine because I would not be very good at keeping a miracle like this a secret. Would you be able to? Let’s read together this passage from Mark and see what questions you have for God and the text:

35While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why put the Teacher to any further trouble?”
36But Jesus overheard the remark and said to the official: “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”37 Jesus allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and James’ brother John.
38 They came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. 39 Jesus went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.” 40 At this, they began to ridicule him, and he told everyone to leave.
Jesus took the child’s mother and father and his own companions and entered the room where the child lay. 41 Taking her hand, he said to her, “Talitha, koum!” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 Immediately the girl, who was twelve years old, got up and began to walk about.
At this they were overcome with astonishment. 43 Jesus gave the family strict orders not to let anyone know about it and told them to give the little girl something to eat.

[Mark 5:35-43 (ILB)/ Marcos 5:35-43 (NVI)]

I preached at The Rev. Allen Harris’s 30th ordination anniversary celebration a few weeks ago and one of the things I said was that Jesus calls us to rest. Then I shared that I once had a kid ask me if that meant that Jesus was in charge of naps. Well, if Jesus is in charge of naps, then this passage tells us that Jesus is also in charge of snacks! And while I don’t think that rest and snacks are the pressing point of this passage, I think that so much of what Jesus points us to in scripture is self and communal care. This community is going through the trauma of losing and regaining the life of a 12-year-old girl. Much like us, their life is filled with trauma and angst. Yet, in Jesus there is always hope.

Jesus performs this miracle and tells the people to not tell anyone but to feed the child. A gentle reminder that the very basic human needs of shelter, food, water, and love are universal regardless of who you are. Jesus is urging us to pay attention to our needs and the needs of our community. And when we do that, we don’t have to tell people about Jesus, because they get to experience Jesus in our work.

So, this Pride Sunday, beloveds, may the love of Jesus be known to all whom we encounter because they see the Divine love of Christ at work in us. And may you always know you are deeply and divinely loved, made in the image of God, and worthy of dignity, respect, and care- this day and always.

Shalom Y’all,

Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O Lord, may we always be open to your miracles. Amen.