“Commit to Be Seen: Bound Together” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

January 24th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

What a gift it is to have another week to “Be Seen” with you. This call to “Be Seen” has been a wonderful gift of encouragement for me to be bolder in telling people that I am a Christian and more active in making my presence known as a person of faith. This is especially true in spaces where I have as a woman been marginalized. It has taken courage and patience. Both of which are helpful on this journey of faith that we are on together. This week we have some exceptional chances to “Be Seen.” The first is this Thursday there is a Jericho Walk at 11 am at Federal Plaza, where people will be seen as they protest unjust immigration laws and practices. The Second is after worship this Sunday there will be a conversation about the future of theological education with Rev. Martin Copenhaver, President of Andover Newton Seminary. And finally, this Monday our friend Ravi Ragbir is being required to ‘check in’ even though the federal government is closed. Come support Ravi Monday at 9:30 am at 26 Federal Plaza. “Be Seen” in person if you can join us or “Be Seen” online by using the hashtags: #ICEisNotEssential #ICEshutdown #IStandWithRavi.

In our commitment to be seen this month, I have asked myself what it means to “Be Seen.” I hope you have too. For me, the part of this commitment that has been most enlightening is that being seen actually has much to do with someone else as it does with me. Being seen takes courage to show up in my authentic self and trust that my personhood will be valued and seen as the image of God it was created to be. But being seen inherently takes two people: the one being seen and the one seeing. Once someone sees you, they can’t undo it. You exist in their world forever. Same goes for you. Once you have seen someone, they are a part of your world, and their mere existence changes the way you understand the world forever. Seeing and being seen binds us together, like pages of the same novel. Each page a new part of the same story. It collects us into individual parts of the same whole. And it is our trusted responsibility to nurture and care for each new piece that gets added to our whole…our world…God’s creation. This commitment to be bound to each other is part of the focus of this week’s scripture from Ephesians.

I plead with you, then, in the name of our Redeemer, to lead a life worthy of your calling. Treat one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the peace that binds you together.  There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called into one hope when you were called. There is one Savior, one faith, one baptism, one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all….

And to some, the gift they were given is that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers. These gifts were given to equip fully the holy ones for the work of service, and to build up the body of Christ- until we all attain unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Only Begotten of God, until we become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Let us then be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine, or by human trickery or crafty, deceitful schemes. Rather, let us speak the truth in love, and grow to the full maturity of Christ, the head.

Through Christ, the whole body grows. With the proper functioning of each member, firmly joined together by each supporting ligament, the body builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4: 1-6; 11-16)

Being seen as a Christian is one of the first steps, we take in building up the body of Christ. We claim our faith and in doing so we claim a space in the cosmos that binds us to each other and to the eternal Christ. But as we are in the present, it is important to remember that what we do today matters to who we are tomorrow. How we are seen functioning as the body of Christ will have impact on those who are a part of the body in the years to come. That is a heavy commitment to make, but it is easier to be accountable to be a steadfast and faithful member of the body if we remember to do it in community.

Our scripture says let us grow to the maturity of Christ. That means we must have movement forward, as you can only reach maturity over time. And with a body, movement forward means everyone bound together-working together- with a common vision and purpose.

Friends, this month’s commitment is calling us together in work, faith, and love. It reminds us that each vulnerable step we have the courage to take is one step closer to walking the walk of Christ, which is a journey of companionship and community. I am so grateful to be seen with each of you as we continue our journey.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: Lord, I am a part of your wholeness and you are a part of mine. Let us be seen together. Amen