“Jesus Still Weeps” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

November 1st,2018 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I give thanks for each of you today. This has been a hard week filled with pain and loss. I hope you find yourself wrapped in the embrace of God’s love and filled with a passion to seek justice for all of creation. A couple of reminders, this Saturday we will decorate the “ofrenda” at the church from 5-7 pm. Please bring a picture or a token of remembrance for those who have gone before us. Sunday, don’t forget to turn your clocks back and give some extra time to get to church because it is Marathon Sunday. We have members of our congregation running this weekend and we send them prayers of health, safety, and endurance.  Finally, after service we will be showing a family friendly movie to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. We hope you will join us.

Beloveds, needless to say this week has been very difficult. And when we find ourselves in difficult times those who are people of faith often turn to scripture to bring about some comfort and hope. Phrases like “love one another,” are used as a touchstone to remind us where we need to go as a people after major tragedies. We have been conditioned to respond to tragedy with action, which is wonderful. But we don’t want to miss the opportunity in those moments to grieve and be present to our emotions which are also a response to the tragedy. That is why this week’s scripture, which was chosen for this week months ago, is so poignant. Read this passage from the Book of John paying attention to the way Jesus is present to Mary and Lazarus.

“When Mary got to Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “If you had been here, Lazarus never would have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the other mourners as well, he was troubled in spirit, moved by the deepest emotions.
34 “Where have you laid him?” Jesus asked.
“Come and see,” they said. 35 And Jesus wept.”

Jesus wept. This is the reminder and the presence of Jesus this week needs. Jesus took the time to openly weep for the loss within his community. Jesus didn’t turn to Mary and the others present and make an excuse, plan a funeral, or create a justice seeking response. No, Jesus wept. And what I find comforting in this passage is that it never says Jesus stops weeping. Yes, he goes on to seek justice, build community, and love deeply the people in his life, but he continues to weep throughout his life, and he continues to weep with us today.

Friends, I hope you are taking care of yourselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It is hard work, but it is the work we are called to do in community. Your pastoral staff is here to listen, to love, and even to weep with you. And if you find yourself in a space that feels lonely, know that Jesus is there with you. Listening to you. Weeping with you. Loving you into wholeness.

A short prayer for your week: Holy One, we weep together at the deep wounds and loss in this world. Help me to remember that you have brought me into communities that love me and are here for me. May I be a source of presence and comfort to them as well. Amen.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie