“Commit to Listen: Who Gets the Credit?” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope this week of summer finds you keeping cool and surrounded by those you love. I love the summer as it has been a time for me to reconnect with family and friends, I hope this time offers you the same. Just a reminder that the next three Sundays (Yes 3!!) all have wonderful ministries planned. This Sunday we will gather starting at 10am for our summer Congregational Meeting. So, make sure to set your alarm an hour early! The meeting will lead right into worship. Sunday the 23rd we are kicking off our Pride festivities with our Pronoun Language Lab where we will get together after worship and practice using the many gender expansive pronouns in our world. Finally, we hope you plan to join us for the 50th annual Pride Parade on Sunday June 30th starting at 8am at Judson Memorial. Both the Pronoun Lab and the Pride Parade are free but to get a feel of how many people we can expect please remember to RSVP at belovedandproud.com. This community and its many ministries are such a gift to this world we are so thankful for each and every one of you who make this work possible.
As many of you know I was not brought up in the church. So, when I talk about my call story now, many people are taken aback that my call story involves times in my life when I didn’t have a concrete relationship with God. In fact, my call story starts well before I had even been inside a church. But that is because when I was discerning my call to ministry, part of my process was going over my life and starting to recognize where the spirit was at work, even before (well before) I had a relationship with God. So, when I read this week’s scripture it reminded me of my discernment process and how there have been times in my life when I was truly me- speaking and living in my honest truth- before church, and before ministry that I know now were spirit led. In that spirit, let’s read these verses from chapter 16 in the Book of John:
12 I have much more to tell you,
but you can’t bear to hear it now.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes,
she will guide you into all truth.
She won’t speak on her own initiative;
rather, she’ll speak only what she hears,
and she’ll announce to you
things that are yet to come.
14 In doing this, the Spirit will give glory to me,
for she will take what is mine
and reveal it to you. (John 16:12-14)
Have there been times in your life when you’ve been thinking about something and then you got the courage or inspiration to do it, and it feels like it’s from out of nowhere? And after you did it, did you feel more alive, more in tune with yourself and what you are meant to do in this world? How often did you stop in that moment and think, “That was God”?
For me, more often than not those moments are the times I pat myself on the back for doing it and keep going with my day. Only after some thought and reflection do I realize I am taking all the credit, and the one I really need to thank for the courage, or the hope, or the inspiration is God. God, through the Holy Spirit is always calling you into your truth. Calling you to speak, live, and love in your authentic way. We can trust that God is always lighting the path toward truth for the scripture reminds us, “she will guide you into all truth.” So, we needn’t be afraid when a truth- old or new, and however hard or joyous it may be- is placed on our path. If we remind ourselves that God is at work in this world in all we do, if we remember to listen to where God is calling us rather than just telling God where we want to go, anything is possible.