“Commit to Community: Strangers” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

August 29th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope this week has allowed you to carve out spaces of rest and renewal. With so much on the horizon it is important to take these last few moments and center yourself for the work ahead of you. Sunday is the 1st of the month and with that comes our new commitment which is “Commit to Community” and we have so many ministry gatherings to help you live into this commitment. We have YASS and SoulFood Fellowship and Homecoming-Oh My! Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for more information. Or ask one of your pastors this week in worship.

This week is our last in the series of community favorites. Next week we will return to the lectionary. But I wanted to say how insightful and lovely it has been to see the many different scriptures that mean something extra-special to you. I preached last year on my two favorite passages (Jezebel and Miriam) and I am so thankful that you all entrusted me to preach on your favorites. Each week as I reflected on my past Sunday’s sermon, I felt like I knew the community just a little bit better. It was an unexpected surprise of this sermon series that I am so grateful for. Which makes this week’s scripture so perfect (Look at the Spirit continue to work!).

This week we are in the Book of Hebrews and we are talking about hospitality and expectations. Much like the unexpected new understanding of our community from our “Congregation’s Choice” sermon series, we are invited to look for the unexpected when we are building community as well. Which is perfect for this new month’s commitment. Let’s read together from the Book of Hebrews 13:1-3.

Continue to love each other as sisters and brothers.
Don’t neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them.
And be mindful of those who are being treated badly, since you know what they are enduring.

I love this passage. I love that it reminds us to open our doors a little bit wider not because people need us to, but because WE need us to. We as God’s church and we as God’s people are called to build community with strangers and people on the margins of society, not for their benefit but because if we don’t, we will miss a fundamental way God is at work in the world. And what a gift of grace it is to get this subtle reminder to reach out and bring people in. To say not only, “you are welcome” but to say, “I see God in you.”

Friends, be on the lookout for the angels- for God at work. New spaces and opportunities to turn strangers into neighbors are happening everywhere we turn, if we are continuing to turn toward God.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, May I have eyes to see the angels you have put in my midst. Amen