Bloom with Reverence: Love Language” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

May 20th,2021 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope this week has found you filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as we celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost is such a special time in the life of the church. It represents another space of newness and hope, which is something that we can all use. As Pastor Kaji said last week, we invite you to wear the colors of flames for Sunday’s worship. If you put a pic online be sure to tag us and we will share it- keeping the tongues of fire alive today! We can’t wait to see you Sunday!

This morning, I had the privilege of officiating a wedding for a couple that I had never met until today. This is not normally how I journey with couples toward marriage, but due to unforeseen circumstances on their end they needed this favor, so, I made an exception and decided to officiate. I love weddings-LOVE them. And to do one in person was so life giving. Because I did not know this couple, I came up with an order of service that was more generic than what I normally do. As we started the ceremony under Bridge 24 at the south end of the reservoir the words that I had scripted seemed insufficient. In the short time I had spent with the brides just minutes before the ceremony, I heard stories of love, and life, of pain, and hope. And while the words that I was saying embodied all of that, the lack of personalization made it feel lacking. So, I took a deep breath and went a bit off script. I repeated some of their own words they used to describe their life and their dreams. They are expecting twin girls, so I blessed their daughters that were present with us as well. From roots to branches, I gave thanks for all who made the day possible, gibing into the moment with the Holy Spirit guiding my words. The hot wind of today was rushing under the bridge and when I was finished with the ceremony, I thought, this was our own version of the story of Pentecost. A hot breeze and new words and work with people unknown- guided by the Holy Spirit. It is in that spirit that I invite us to read together the story of Pentecost from the Book of Acts:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they all met in one room. Suddenly they heard what sounded like a violent, rushing wind from heaven; the noise filled the entire house in which they were sitting. Something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each one. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as she enabled them.
Now there were devout people living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled. But they were bewildered to hear their native languages being spoken. They were amazed and astonished: “Surely all of these people speaking are Galileans! How does it happen that each of us hears these words in our native tongue? We are Parthians, Medes and Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya around Cyrene, as well as visitors from Rome—all Jews, or converts to Judaism—Cretans and Arabs, too; we hear them preaching, each in our own language, about the marvels of God!”

[Acts 2:1-11 (ILB)/ Hechos 2:1-11 (NVI)

Today in New York City it is warm and sunny which means that Central Park is in full swing. Joggers, nannies, dogs, people eating lunch, people falling in love, people reading are all out in the park taking in the beauty of the day. But when people passed us, without exception, they all stopped to watch the ceremony. And when I announced that they were married- and they sealed their commitment to each other with a kiss- it felt like the energy of Central Park was solely focused on them with abundant cheers, clapping, and well wishes. The language of love was being spoken in every heart, in every language, every smile. I took another deep breath and gave thanks for the marvels of God that guide my steps and always leads me into the dwelling places of love. It was our own moment of Pentecost.Friends, what words or love languages do you use to talk about the marvels of God? This Sunday, I hope you will share them with us in the chat or online so that we may continue the work that the early church charges us with – to hear the good news and share it – far and wide.

Shalom Y’all,

Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O Lord, Give me the words that lead me to the dwelling places of your love. Amen.