“Commit to Speak Up: Just Ask” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope this week has been good to you. Many of us just returned from the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where we shared the incredible work The Park is doing and heard from many people how much our church means to them. It was a wonderful time and I hope that you will talk to Rev. Richard, Rev. Sydney, Janet Martin, or myself to hear more about the event. This week we are so fortunate to have our very own Meghan Janssen bring us the word. We look forward to her message and hope you will join us.
In my early 20’s I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with my life. I had moved to Los Angeles after college and was working 5 jobs to make ends meet. I was also working so many jobs because I was testing the waters of what I might want to do for a living. One of my jobs was as a receptionist at a marketing agency. After a few months I saw some positions opening up that I was qualified for but wasn’t getting the opportunity for them- or so I thought. I went to HR and asked what I had to do to be considered for these jobs. The answer was “just ask.” It seemed so simple yet entirely abstract. I didn’t know I could ask for the things I not only needed but wanted. The question then became, “who do I ask?”
This question is one I carry often. Back when I didn’t know what I was called to do, I would ask my colleagues, friends, and sometimes family for what I needed or for helpful advice. But as someone who prides themselves in self-sufficiency, asking for help or advice is a hard skill that I had to practice to really learn. It wasn’t until I went to church and learned the Lord’s prayer, that I realized that God has been telling God’s people to “just ask” since the beginning. Ask for help. Ask for guidance. Ask for physical and spiritual sustenance. Ask for peace. God is here for us to ask. Let’s see where God is reminding us to ask in our scripture today from the Gospel of Luke.
“11:1 One day Jesus was praying, and when he had finished, one of the disciples asked, “Rabbi, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say,
hallowed be your Name!
May your reign come.
3 Give us today
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we too forgive everyone who sins against us;
and don’t let us be subjected to the Test.’”
5 Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, a neighbor, and you go to your neighbor at midnight and say, ‘Lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because friends of mine on a journey have come to me, and I have nothing to set before them.’
7 “Then your neighbor says, ‘Leave me alone. The door is already locked and the children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to look after your needs.’ 8 I tell you, though your neighbor will not get up to give you the bread out of friendship, your persistence will make your neighbor get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “That’s why I tell you, keep asking and you’ll receive; keep looking and you’ll find; keep knocking and the door will be opened to you. 10 For whoever asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds; whoever knocks, is admitted. 11 What parents among you will give a snake to their child when the child asks for a fish, 12 or a scorpion when the child asks for an egg? 13 If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children good things, how much more will our heavenly Abba give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?” (Luke 11:1-13)
Just ask. It seems so simple to turn to your family and community to ask for the things you need. But I don’t know about you, I often forget to ask God. Maybe because I like instant results or maybe because I just haven’t practiced asking God for things, but I generally turn to the people I surround myself with rather than turning to God. And the worst part of this is that I have no excuse. Every time I turn to God, I find answers or clarity, support and love. And often it is instant. Even if I don’t immediately have the exact answer I need, when I turn to God and ask for help, I always feel better and know that God is with me in the question and the answer. Turning to God is what God wants us to do. We were not created and then forgotten. We were created to continue the conversation God set forth when God breathed life into the world.
Friends, today turn to God and just ask. Ask for what you need. Ask for guidance or clarity. Ask for the continuation of the good things in your life. No matter what it is, don’t forget to just ask God.
A quick prayer for your week: God help me remember to turn to you for all things for I know you are with me on this journey. Amen