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

November 27th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter
Beloved Church,

Can you believe that the advent season is here? It seems like we were just celebrating the resurrection. As we move into this last month of the year (and DECADE!) reflecting on all that we have done together has been such a blessing to my prayers. From protests to back-to-school drives, Pride, bible studies, and BuzzFeed articles, CPE Graduations, and Pronoun and Latinx Language Labs we have really pushed the envelope on what it means to not only do church but be church. Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the Worship and the Arts workshop (Dec 7), YASS Christmas Party (Dec 8), and be sure not to miss our 11pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (Dec 24). This church is growing in incredible ways and it is all because of your commitment to this community. This Thanksgiving I am holding you all in prayer and I am so grateful for each of you.

There is a reason that Andy Williams’, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” can be heard ringing from shops all over the country this week. The week of Thanksgiving leading right into Advent reminds us that the hope of Christmas is right around the corner. The air is crisp, the streets smell sweet with roasted nuts, and people start to cast vision of hope for their families and their many communities’ future. That is why this scripture is so wonderful. It reminds us that so many parts of our lives are built on hope. It reminds us about the mystery that has been promised to us once again through the impending birth of the Christ child. But it also reminds us that there is no time like now to build the kindom. Let’s read together this week’s scripture from the book of Matthew.

“No one knows that day and that hour-not the angels
of heaven, nor even the Only Begotten- only God.
“The coming of the Promised One will be just like Noah’s
time. In the days before the flood, people were eating and
drinking, having relationships and getting married, right up
to the day Noah entered the ark. They were totally unconcerned until the flood came and destroyed them. So, it will be at the coming of the Promised One. Two people will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two people will be grinding meal; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore be vigilant! For you don’t know the day your Savior is coming.

“Be sure of this: if the owner of the house had known
when the thief was coming, the owner would have kept a
watchful eye and not allowed the house to be broken into.
You must be prepared in the same way. The Promised One
is coming at the time you least expect. (Matt 24:36-44)

This text has historically been used to whip society into shape. To instill fear into the faith life of communities. “Watch out, Jesus is coming! Better get your life in gear.” It has inspired books and movies alike. But what are we afraid of? This world is already filled with sin and grief everywhere we look. Kids are in cages, people live in poverty, racism is abundant, Koalas are almost extinct, the Amazon burned for days, Nazi’s are open on Facebook! I don’t think we need scripture to tell us we need to be better. Just look out the window. So, how can we use this text to bring about change without fear?  Well, what if we read this text not as something that should make us afraid, but bring us hope? Hope comes in the space between what we know and what is possible. So, as the scripture says if no one knows when Christ is coming, we get to live in hope for the kindom to come.

If no one knows when Christ is coming, we get to dream bigger for our environment.
If no one knows when Christ is coming, we have the opportunity of today to seek more justice boldly for immigrants and refugees.
If no one knows when Christ is coming, we get to stand up to racism and deconstruct systemic oppressive structures.
If no one knows when Christ is coming, we don’t have to be afraid, we get to be hopeful because we have another opportunity- every day we are given- to be our best Christ following selves.

Friends, no one knows if or when Christ is coming, or perhaps, we consistently overlook the living Christ among us. But what we do know is that each day we are given is a gift to start again. To live into the hope of the unknown like Mary, to seek justice like dutiful Joseph, or to love with limitless boundaries like Christ. The unknown timing of life is a gift of hope we need to lean into and a challenge that I am grateful to accept. I hope you will join me this Advent Season.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, help me live with more hope than fear. Amen