“Inspire Imagination: Fight” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

September 24th,2020 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter
Beloved Church,We as a community have continued to grow and serve together even in these most unusual times and it is such an incredible gift to be a part of. I continue to hold you in prayer each and every day as you navigate new normal and unexpected turns. I hope that you are taking proper care of yourself. Giving yourself permission to rest, so that you might eagerly continue to seek justice, is all part of the work of being a Christian. So thankful that we continue to do this work together in worship, fellowship, and service. In days where the streets come alive with restless spirits in pursuit of justice it can be helpful to hear some things clearly. So, please hear this: You matter. You are made in the image of a God who contains multitudes. Every part of you is holy and a reflection of the Divine. For those of us with identities that have been underserved, underrepresented, and undervalued, you matter. And because we want to be abundantly clear where we stand, The Park unequivocally states, Black Lives Matter.

It seems like every day there is a new fight ahead of us. Racial, gender, health, food, housing, and sexual inequalities are rampant in our world because of shallow readings of scripture. And that shallow work has allowed for our faith to be used as a pawn to advance a social narrative antithetical to the gospel call to love one another. There are several reasons why, but one that I have witnessed first-hand is people’s understanding that we aren’t called to wrestle and dig deep in scripture. And why? Are we afraid that we might hurt God? Are we fearful that we might wrestle our faith right out of us?

So, in light of the many ways we are called to wrestle with our faith, and in the name of spiritual growth as we build an equitable and just world, I ask you to read this scripture paying close attention to Jacob and God’s relationship. Hear these words from the book of Genesis.

In the course of the night, Jacob arose, took the entire caravan, and crossed the ford of the Yabbok River. After Jacob had crossed with all his possessions, he returned to the camp, and he was completely alone.

And there, someone wrestled with Jacob until the first light of dawn. Seeing that Jacob could not be overpowered, the other struck Jacob at the socket of the hip, and the hip was dislocated as they wrestled.

Then Jacob’s contender said, “Let me go, for day is breaking.”

Jacob answered, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

 “What is your name?” the other asked. “Jacob,” he answered.

The other said, “Your name will no longer be called ‘Jacob,’ or ‘Heel-Grabber,’ but ‘Israel’—’Overcomer of God’ —because you have wrestled with both God and mortals, and you have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:22-28)

Friends, the fight for justice is fraught with physical and spiritual dislocation. Do not give up. The blessing of God is near, you just have to keep at it. Luckily you are not in it alone. You are so loved, and we are grateful you are a part of our community. Keep up the holy fight of good trouble.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, I know that you are bigger than my doubt. Amen