“Inspire Community: Doves” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

May 14th,2020 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope that you are continuing to find spaces of rest and peace, healing and safety during this time. I know it is cliché to say but I do hope as you read this that you are well, and if not well, that you are cared for. What trying times we are in for a myriad of reasons. Please know that we are here to listen, talk, cry, find spaces of joy, and seek justice with you even though we are apart. We are apart together but always community.  And we recognize that the needs of the community are varied, so please reach out and let us know how we can support you as you navigate the rough waters of building and maintaining new community. Some ways that the church is building and maintaining community is in our weekly worships (Children at 10:30 and Everyone at 11am), Yass Digital Happy Hour, weekly Won’t Stop, Bible Study, and this newsletter. Y’all even apart our calendar is FULL and what a gift that is to our ever-growing community.

This week’s scripture is a passage that is familiar to many and yet rings in a new way during this time. It is the story of Noah after the flood. And I don’t know about you, but this time of isolation can feel a bit like being trapped on the ark. I imagine all the animals in their little pens, the way my apartment building is a bunch of homes. And boy do we want off the ark. But is it time? Let’s read together this story from Genesis to listen to what our still speaking God has to say.
Then Noah sent out a dove to see if the waters had subsided on the earth. The dove, finding nowhere to perch, returned to the ark, for there was still water over the whole earth. Putting out his hand for the dove he brought it back into the ark. Noah waited seven more days, and again sent out the dove from the ark. In the evening, the dove returned with a freshly plucked olive branch in its beak, and Noah knew that the waters were receding from the earth. After seven more days, he again sent out the dove, and this time it did not return.


In Noah’s 601st year, on the first day of the first month, the waters had dried up on the earth. Noah opened the door on the side of the ark and saw that the ground was drying. (Genesis 8:8-13)


Most of us are not doves. For me that is the big take away from this lesson. Everyone wants off the boat. I am positive that the antelope are ready to be done with their existential dread and anxiety that comes with being trapped on a boat with a lion. And perhaps the lion was even housed next door. But Noah didn’t take the animal most itching to be released. And he definitely didn’t take the animal that was most at risk of being eaten on the ark. No, he took a dove. A bird that had the gifts to go from the ark safely and return. Noah didn’t send a sloth. A sloth is not able to assess appropriately when it is time to leave the ark. Nor did Noah just open the door and shove everyone out. And he definitely didn’t let people off because they were the loudest, or they demanded it. No, Noah sent one animal, with the specific gift of letting him know what was in the waters ahead. When the dove came back because it wasn’t time, Noah was patient. When it was time and the dove didn’t return, only then did Noah start to plan their return to land. And again, he didn’t open the doors in shallow waters, or let the animals that could sufficiently swim out first. He waited until the waters dried up to let anyone off the ark.

Friends, I am not a dove. Nor are you. And no one can make us a dove. Even if the Noah’s of our ark try and make us the first ones off – you don’t have to leave it. We must have patience. We must wait for the waters to dry. So, that when we step off the ark- out of our homes- it is safe for everyone. For there are doves among us – Doctor and scientists. And they keep coming back to the ark. When they don’t- we will know. And when that time comes, we will look together for dry land, collaborate on how to exit, and then finally get off the ark.  Dry land is coming friends. But for now, the safest place for you to be is on the ark.

Shalom Y’all,

Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, help me live into your call for patience. Amen