“Inspire Joy: The List” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

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

Beloved Church,

It is so good to be back with you. I am grateful to serve a community that understands and respects the sabbath and encourages its leaders to step away in order to come back renewed. I hope you take that time as well. We have a lot happening in the life of the church this week. New Inspire curriculum, Yass Digital Happy Hour, Bible Study, and worship are just some of the ministries happening right now. Please come to some or all of these wonderful gatherings. We are so grateful that you are a part of God’s and our beloved community.

I will admit that this week’s text holds a special place in my heart. It is the text that was chosen for the Disciple’s General Assembly and since the day it was chosen, I have read these words every day. Every day. On sabbatical? Yes! During your days off? Absolutely! On a random Monday afternoon? You betcha! These words have clung to my spirit (or maybe it’s the other way around) since I first heard them. And the Spirit has a way of moving that brings the right words to the right time, in a way that I will never understand and am so grateful for. Friends, I am not sure there is another text out there that reminds me during this time of apart-together, that God is still at work. So let’s read together these words from the book of Romans.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, 39 neither heights nor depths—nor anything else in all creation—will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Savior. (Romans 8:38-39 [ILB])

A couple of months ago, as I was reading these words, I felt called to write a version of my own. So, I sat at my computer and made a list of all burdens I was carrying and as I wrote them down, I offered them to God. When I read them aloud, they read a lot like this list in Romans. Below is what I came up with:

I wrote these words on May 13 and since then so many things have changed and also stayed the same. Writing this again today, I would add white supremacy, masks, and dreams deferred. But I have found it a helpful practice to list the things that feel like they are separating me from God (which are different than the things that are actively trying to distance you from God; systemic oppression, hate, etc) so that I may be reminded of God’s unbreakable and unending love for me.

So, this week, that is my call to you. Write your own version of this scripture. Name the things that are trying you and give them over to God. If you can, share them online and make sure to tag us so that we may hold that space with you. For I am convinced that nothing can- or will- separate us from the love of God…or each other.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: O Lord I am convinced of your love. Amen