“Commit to Christ: Get Inspired” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

December 26th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter
Beloved Church,
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The candlelight service was so moving and lovely. I am so grateful to spend another Christmas season with this community and I look forward to what the new year brings. As a reminder that our offices are closed Dec. 25-Jan 1 with the exception of the 29th. I hope to see you in service this Sunday where we will talk about how God is at work in our midst and how we can use that love to cast vision for the future. It will be an incredible morning you won’t want to miss.

This coming year we will have some new curriculum called INSPIRE 2020. It is the 2020 version of Commit 2019 but with a more robust curriculum and more opportunities to come together. The readings will be shorter and will be free to download in the INSPIRE 2020 newsletter that will come out on the 1st of every month. There is an affirmation to use daily. There is a reading discussion every month and a song to listen to and reflect on. Finally, there will be a piece of scripture to use to go with the theme of the month. So, make sure you check your mail on Jan 1 to find out January’s INSPIRE 2020 theme. I will give you one hint, part of our scripture this week is the scripture for January’s inspire theme! So, read below see what is inspired in you from these words that come from the book of Isaiah.

“Look, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth—can’t you see it?
I’m making a road in the desert
and setting rivers to flow in the wasteland.”

“7 I will tell you of God’s unfailing love,
and sing the praises of God
for all that God did for us—
the many good things done for the house of Israel,
which God did with motherly compassion
and many kindnesses.
For God said, “Truly these are my people,
children who will not be false to me”—
and so God became their Liberator.
In all their distress, O God, you were distressed,
and the angel of your Presence saved them;
you redeemed them out of deep love
and profound mercy;
you lifted them up and carried them
from time immemorial.”

These passages from Isaiah are some of my very favorite when reflecting on what we have done with God this past year, and what is happening now that will inspire what we can become. We are a people that tell stories and when you commit to Christ, the church and its people become an integral part of those stories. When we talk about God’s mercy and grace, we do so by sharing stories where we have shown the same grace to ourselves and others. When we talk about God’s justice, we do so by sharing the stories of our actions. Our feet on the ground being God’s hands and feet in the world doing something new in the present. And when we talk about God’s love, we do so by sharing the stories of the people that make us feel seen and valued. The communities that lift us up in joy and lift us even higher when we are in times of trial. We carry the stories of God from the past and are currently making the stories of the future. We are how people experience God in the present and that is a big responsibility and an incredible honor. And I am so grateful that I get to write these stories with you all.

Friends, this scripture talks about all the things that God has done. What do you hope people will say about you and this church and all that we have done together? What do we want to inspire the next generation of Christians to do? And what do we need to do now, to make sure that happens? It’s never too late to get inspired and start a new story. Together, let’s start writing the best one yet.

Happy New Year, beloved Park family.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, thank you for doing something new in me every day. Amen