“Commit to Gratitude: The Team” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

November 7th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

This was my club team for AYSO world cup in…98?

Beloved Church,

I hope this week is one that has brought you some joy. After last week’s meeting, and the care in which our people hold the vision of this church, I have been living in a space of deep gratitude. Remember that this week at 10am our finance committee is available to answer any question that may come up for you. I believe that transparency in our finances and vision for the church is a source of pastoral care and I am so grateful to be a part of this care team for our community.

Being a part of a team is something that I love deeply. I played soccer for 15 years, I have been in relationships and families, churches and fraternal orders. I find being accountable to something more than myself is what life is all about. And sometimes God gives you little nuggets of scripture that reinforce those beliefs that we hold so close to our heart.

But sometimes those messages are not as easy to find. This week’s scripture is one of those messages. When I first read it, I thought, “This poor woman, her whole identity wrapped up in who she is partnered with and what she should have given to the relationship.” But then I read it- and read it again- and I realized that this scripture is actually telling me something deeper than who to partner with. God is giving us hope that when we live against the hegemonic norm, when we create lives that are good and complex, challenging and grateful, but lives that are Christ centered and justice seeking, that’s when we are not just alive, but truly living.

Let’s read together this story from the book of Luke:
“27 Some Sadducees—the ones who claim there is no resurrection—came forward to pose this question: 28 “Teacher, Moses wrote that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife and no child, the brother should marry the woman now widowed, to raise up children with her. 29 Let’s say that there were seven brothers. The first one married and died childless. 30 The second brother then married the woman, 31 then the third, and so on. All seven died without leaving her any children. 32 Finally the woman herself died. 33 At the resurrection, who will be her husband? Remember, seven married her.”

34 Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry each other, 35 but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of the resurrection from the dead don’t take husbands or wives. 36 They can no longer die, like the angels—they are children of God, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 That the dead rise again was even demonstrated by Moses when, in the passage about the bush, he called the Most High ‘the God of Sarah and Abraham, and the God of Rebecca and Isaac and the God of Leah and Rachel and Jacob.’ 38 God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. All are alive to God.” (Luke 20:27-38)

Friends, this world puts a lot of unnecessary expectations on our lives. The should have’s and the would have’s plague our communal dialogue and pit us against each other to see who can live the best individually. But that is why I like being on a team. Working together for common goals. Lifting each other up so that a singular success is actually a win for the team. A team is a gratitude fest. And God likes teams too. It’s why teams like “children of God” or “the angels” are named all throughout the bible. To remind us that no matter what, you belong. The church, your family, your government, society can all tell you, you aren’t good enough or you don’t belong. But that is the beauty of being on God’s team. No one can take you off it. God will never cut you from the team or bench you. So, put on the uniform and bring all your gifts to the team. Because you are up to bat, taking the penalty kick, and headed toward the goal line in life and God’s team hasn’t lost yet.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, I am thankful to be on your team. Amen