“Commit to Healing: Name Your Needs” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

October 10th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope you have all had a wonderful week and have continued to let the call of ecological justice from Rev. Jim Antal guide your steps. I know that I have been more intentional in my water consumption, plastic use, and recycling. It has been a challenge but one that I am so grateful to overcome. Seeing God in everyone and everything is such a blessing as it allows me to be intentional in the ways in which I engage creation. Who says I can’t have a new year’s resolution-esk new commitment in October! There is no time like the present. Let us know what new steps you are taking toward environmental justice! This coming week we also want to lift up Indigenous Peoples’ Day which is October 14th. We invite you to look up the land on which you reside and give thanks for the sacrifice of those who resided there before you. Also, look up and attend local Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations. Our community is made of so many diverse people and we are thankful that you are one of them.

This week we are back in the gospel of Luke learning through another parable, lessons of God’s justice. We have a woman, asking for what she needs to feel safe from a judge that has continued to turn her away. As we read this together, I invite us to think of a couple questions: Who do we not want to hear in spaces of justice? What would it take to change our minds? What do we keep to ourselves rather than share about our needs? Now, let’s read together this story of perseverance, privilege, and justice from the gospel of Luke.
1 Jesus told the disciples a parable on the necessity of
praying always and not losing heart: 2 “Once there was
a judge in a certain city who feared no one-not even God.
3 A woman in that city who had been widowed kept coming
to the judge and saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my
opponent.’ 4 For a time the judge refused, but finally the judge thought,
‘I care little for God or people, 5 but this woman won’t leave me alone.
I’d better give her the protection she seeks, or she’ll keep coming and wear me out!”‘

6 Jesus said, “Listen to what this corrupt judge is saying.
7 Won’t God then do justice to the chosen who call out day
and night? Will God delay long over them? 8 I tell you, God
will give them swift justice.

“But when the Promised One comes, will faith be found
anywhere on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 )
There are so many spiritually rich narratives at work in this text. I can see myself and the many privileges I carry, as the judge who feels annoyed at my disrupted comfort. I also feel very deeply in my bones a sense of comradery with the woman asking for protection. The scripture says that she has continued to come to this judge- meaning she has been turned away many times- asking for what she needs. Women today face that same sort of treatment in many different spaces. For example, Siobhan Fenton a health and social affairs correspondent wrote about how women and men with the same chronic symptoms are treated differently. Men’s pain is more immediately believed and treated with pain medications while women are often given sedatives. This type of power and value imbalance has led to communities of people that are not believed when we share our needs. But what can we do? Jesus reminds us to name our needs. To not care about being labeled as someone who will “wear [you] out” with their persistence because justice is of God, and God is for everyone.

Friends, who needs us to hear their cry? What do we need to share our pleas openly? And on both accounts, how long O Lord do we continue? The answer is- until the kindom comes. Because we are people of faith, people of justice…people of Jesus. And because of that, I have faith that all things are possible.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, give me the courage to share my needs with those who can meet them. Amen