“Inspire Strength: The Wait” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

February 27th,2020 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope this week has kept you dry and warm. I just came back from the General Board meeting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) which is one of our denominational affiliations, where I got to share the incredible work we are doing at The Park. I came back just in time to start our Lenten journey together where we had an inspired and truly wonderful Ash Wednesday service. This Sunday we will also start our Inspire 2020 curriculum for March. Can you believe it’s already Lent? Time sure does fly by but every day I am so grateful that I get to journey with you all. See you Sunday at 11am for worship!

When I was a kid I used to talk to my stuffed animals. I would tell them my secrets, tell them jokes, and tell them the stories of my days. And then I would wait for them to speak back. But now that I am an adult, I look back at those conversations and wonder what would have happened if they did? I probably would have done whatever it said. When something that magical is shown to you, you pay attention. Which is why whenever this week’s text comes up, and people ask why Adam and Eve listened to the snake, I always wonder what I would have done? What would any of us do if out of the blue, animals started to talk to us? Would you think it was a message from God? Would it matter what animal it was? Let’s read together from Genesis the story of humans first day in the garden of Eden.


Then God took the earth creature and settled it in the garden of Eden so that it might cultivate and care for the land. God commanded the earth creature,
“You may eat as much as you like
from any of the trees of the garden—
except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
You must not eat from that tree,
for on the day you eat from that tree,
that is the day you will die—yes, die.”

But the snake was even more naked: the most cunning of all the animals that God had made.
The snake asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the snake, “We may eat fruit from all the other trees in the garden. But of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘Don’t eat it and don’t touch it, or you will die.’”
The snake said to the woman, “Die? You won’t die! God knows well that on the day that you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil!”
The woman knew that the tree was enticing to the eye, and now saw that the fruit was good to eat—that it was desirable for the knowledge it could give. So, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to the man beside her, and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So, they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
(Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7)

So, what would you have done? It seems like an easy answer when we have all the facts- when we know how the story ends. But in the beginning, when first faced with the unknown I can see how the knowledge of what’s next could outweigh the fear of retribution for not following a direction. These questions seem especially pertinent as we start this season of lent. God said the humans would die with this new knowledge. Jesus was essentially told that too. Given the opportunity to know the end, would the disciples have eaten the fruit? Would Jesus? Would you?

Friends, this Lenten journey you are surely going to encounter new things- see God in new ways. People and things may also tempt you from your journey. You may want to skip the process and know the end before it’s time. Wait and be patient. Know that God is at work and moving you toward something new- something promised. The snakes may be flashy and surprising, but trust that salvation done on God’s time is worth the wait-and is much cooler than a talking snake.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, help me be patient and work on your time not mine. Amen