“Commit to Rest: Inheritance” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

August 8th,2019 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope this month you are taking your commitment to rest seriously. With everything that is happening in our nation and world, the work we are called to do through the Gospel is abundant and your participation is necessary. So, as I have said before, we rest so that we can continue, we rest so we renew, we rest so we don’t quit. So, friends, whatever rest looks like to you, I hope you are paying attention to your body and spirit and giving it what it needs to be able to continue the work. If you are like me, maybe rest looks like being around people with similar passions as yours. If that is true, I want to make sure you have our Jericho Walks on your weekly calendar. It is a partnership we have with New Sanctuary to stand up to unjust and cruel immigration laws and practices. It is every Thursday at 11am at Federal Plaza in NYC. If rest for you, looks like silence and or solitude, I hope you make time and space for that as well. Friends, there is no wrong way to rest, the important thing is that we do it, and hold each other accountable to the necessary rest and spaces of renewal that we need.

Another reason we are so committed to rest is the fact that we sometimes inherit unexpected labor. This week with the passing of Toni Morrison, my social media feeds were filled with emotional tributes, letters of thanks, and prayers of hope from the multiple communities that I am a part of. But I also have deep empath tendencies, so I inherited some of the deep emotions that accompanied these posts. I could feel this loss in my bones in ways that felt foreign because they didn’t originate in me and yet were now mine to help carry as part of a community in grief. I was unprepared for that emotional labor, so yesterday I made some space for me to rest, so that I could be more present to those I needed to support. Part of my rest yesterday was reading this week’s scripture. As we talked about last Sunday, this week’s (and the next few weeks) scripture was chosen by members of the community. I put all the cards (including those that were submitted online) and let the spirit work by choosing a card at random and because our God knows our hearts and is at work in ways I can’t even fathom, this week’s scripture is perfect for where we are as a community. Let’s read together Psalm 28: 7-9:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in you my heart trusts.
You revived me—
my heart rejoices,
and I praise you with my song.
You are the strength of your people,
the stronghold where your anointed find salvation.
Save your people,
and bless Israel your inheritance!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever!” (Psalm 28:7-9)

Y’all! This scripture is guiding us in our work and rest. It reminds us that we are called to work with- and for God- but that work is not done alone or in vain. God helps us work (Strength) and God helps us rest (Revive). When we do our work with God, we can listen deeply to what God is calling us to do, we will know when we need to keep moving and when we need to tend to our spirit. This gift of a God continuing to speak, continuing to call us into the spaces we are needed and to share the news of Christ, is our inheritance to our faithful work.

Friends, sometimes what we inherit feels more like a burden than a blessing. It can feel like the ripple of a wave we did not create but have somehow waded into. But when we remember that through scripture and faith, we inherited the knowledge of a God who is not only giving us strength but reviving us when we have carried more than we set out to, we can do the hard and holy things. Thanks be for the blessed inheritance we have received in our God still at work.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, You are my strength and my reviver. The one who sustains me forever. Amen.