“Inspire Curiosity: No Matter What” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

January 30th,2020 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope that last month’s INSPIRE 2020 offered you some new tools to help you grow closer to God and God’s community. I am so excited to share in this next month’s journey with you. The reading is something I have been looking forward to sharing with you for a while. A reminder that the Inspired Dialogue zoom gathering is the 3rd Monday of the month from 7-8pm. Let me know if you have any questions. If you aren’t signed up for the INSPIRE newsletter, sign up today on the website and follow us on your preferred social media platform to continue the conversation. And as always, we are excited to see you Sunday for worship where we talk even more about the spaces of inspiration God is calling us toward.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I take the Bible for granted. It is so constant that sometimes I forget that God’s word, guidance, love, and support, is available in a tangible form. Does that make sense? If I have a bad day, I can think of several helpful scripture passages that I can recite from memory, and they offer me comfort – “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10) is a favorite. But sitting down, opening my Bible, and reading that same scripture, is sometimes an option I forget I have. I read my Bible for sermons, newsletters, and pastoral care- but in my own life, I tend to rely on my memory and what I call the “scriptures of my heart.” They are useful and guide me well. But I have also noticed that they can be somewhat limited.

This may be a surprise (this will not be a surprise) but I don’t know the whole Bible by heart. But God is trying to tell me all sorts of things-in all the scriptures. So, when I sit down with a physical Bible, and read a passage that I don’t know by heart, or haven’t read in a while, it can feel like discovering God all over again. Scripture offers a new source of liberation and hope each time we read it, because God is still speaking to us, calling us to new spaces of understanding, love, and justice. God is telling us new things with the same words that we know and love, because God created us to grow and be open to change as God sees fit. Which is why this scripture story of how Paul received the gospel is so moving. That someone received God’s message so fully that they wrote it down so that I have this tool today is something that I am so grateful for. So, with thanks to all the prophets, authors, writers of the law, and story tellers that gave us this tool, let’s read together from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

I assure you, my siblings: the gospel I proclaim to you is no mere human invention. I didn’t receive it from any person, nor was I schooled in it. It came by revelation from Jesus Christ.
You have heard, I know, the story of my former way of life in Judaism. You know that I went to extremes in persecuting the church of God and tried to destroy it. (Galatians 1:11-13)

This week’s scripture really spoke something new to me. As someone who also has a past before I came to value God and church in my life, this story was exactly what I needed to hear. No matter where you have been or what you have done, God can (and will!!) still use you. In fact, God is using you now. Shaping you. Pulling and growing you. Moving you. So that you too can share the good news of Christ Jesus with others in a way that is relatable and unique to your own journey and relationship with God. I sat down and opened this scripture in several different translations and each one reminded me that my whole self is on a journey with God and that I am beloved to God- no matter what. Even today will one day be a part of my past. I will grow and learn and share in ways that change me for the good of God- and this week’s scripture reminds us that is not only okay, but it’s the point. Change, no matter what.

Friends, what might you be used to do, if you listened to God? What needs to change in you to make that happen? Change can happen overnight, but it also can take time. So, if you aren’t sure, that is what I and our church community, are here to help you figure out. God is calling you and using you for something- no matter what- and I can’t wait to see what it is.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, use me no matter what. Amen