“Commit to Gratitude: Patience Takes Time” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

November 14th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Together Live, Nov 4 at The Town Hall featuring: Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Maysoon Zayid, Amena Brown, Amanda Gorman, Michelle Buteau and Resistance Revival Chorus

Beloved Church,

I hope this week you are staying warm and are getting ready for the holidays. New York has finally gotten a bit cooler and the smell of holiday street carts are starting to fill the air. It is truly a magical time to be in the city. We hope that if you are out of state you will plan a visit to The Park, we are so appreciative of your commitment to our growing online community. And to our in-town members, we are so thankful that you are a part of this growing community. I wanted to make sure that everyone is aware of a few upcoming events – all events can be found by following our social media and throughout this newsletter. The first is our Congregational Meeting on Nov 17th at 10:30am be sure to set your reminders to come to church early for this important meeting. After worship on the 17th our 2nd annual Thanksgiving and Receiving put on by our children’s ministry will be happening as soon as service is over. This is a wonderful event for the whole family. Finally, our YASS group is going to see The Inheritance Part 1 on Nov 21. Tickets are $35 and space is limited, so please see Stephanie Wilson this Sunday.  SO. MUCH. IS. HAPPENING!!! And I couldn’t be more grateful to be sharing all of these “happenings” with you!

A few weeks ago I went to a gathering called “Together Rising” put together by Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, and so many other amazing women. It is an intentionally intersectional space where they tell stories, answer questions, engage in hard topics, and share their gifts (singing, comedy, life, etc.). It was a truly inspiring event that I hope you will all get to experience at one point. Each story or gift shared told a personal life journey. Topics from acceptance of their sexuality and physical ability, to sharing their life accomplishments and failures, were all shared throughout this 2+ hour event. By the time the show finished, I was so pumped to be a part of this #wolfpack, feeling inspired by all the things these women have done, and ready to celebrate my own victories in life that I often look over (Hello, Month of Gratitude!!). But that is when I noticed the woman sitting next to me, pulling out a tissue from the plastic pouch clenched in her fist. With a tear in her eye she turned to me and said, “I guess I just have to be patient.” I sat with her as the dance party below started to calm. We walked out together, hugged, and then departed.

What this woman had put together much quicker than I had, was that each of those stories were not just to celebrate the accomplishments of each woman, but to celebrate the wholeness of the journey. From the beginning to the end and everything in between. The stories were meant to meet you where you are at in your journey, not to compare journeys and definitely not to compete in destinations.

That reminder of patience was really helpful for me as I read this week’s scripture. This scripture is hard, because it deals with destruction. Destruction of the church and world. Destruction of comfort and security. But we are people of the resurrection, and we know that destruction is not always bad and it never has the last word. We just need some patience. Let’s read these words from Luke 21:5-19.

Some disciples were speaking of how the Temple was adorned with precious stones and votive offerings. Jesus said,
“You see all these things? The day will come when one stone won’t be left on top of another-everything will be torn down.”
They asked, “When will this happen, Rabbi? And what will be the sign that it’s about to happen?”

Jesus said, “Take care not to be misled. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the One’ and ‘The time is at hand.’ Don’t follow them. And don’t be perturbed when you hear of wars and insurrections. These things must happen first, but the end doesn’t follow immediately.”

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and empire against empire. There will be great earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places-and in the sky there will be frightening omens and great signs.
But before any of this, they’ll arrest you and persecute you, bringing you before synagogues and sending you to prison, bringing you to trial before rulers and governors. And it will all be because of my name- this will be your opportunity to give your testimony. So, make up your minds not to worry about your defense beforehand, for I’ll give you the words, and a wisdom that none of your adversaries can take exception to or contradict. You’ll be betrayed even by your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, yet not a hair of your head will be harmed.

By patient endurance, you’ll save your lives.”

The stories at Together Rising were stories of destruction, patience, and resurrection just like Luke’s. For me the stories from these women about their triumphs – the stories equivalent to “not a hair of your head will be harmed”- fed my spirit and were exactly what I needed to hear. But for the woman next to me, a woman who heard the same stories, sang the same songs, laughed at the same jokes, she needed to hear the stories equivalent to “by patient endurance, you’ll save lives.” She needed to hear that patience doesn’t come easily or lovingly to us. It is a muscle that we need to practice and give time and attention to. So that we can be grateful for the whole journey of our lives.

Friends, the destruction is going to come. It’s a part of being alive. But gratitude and patience come from slowing down and truly living. Patience takes the amount of time that we give it. But each minute we devote to intentional patience – each second we take to linger in life’s complexities – is a moment in deep connection with God. And as the scripture says- will save lives.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, be patient with me. Amen