“Minister’s Week and a Cold” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope this week has inspired you to deeply consider what it means to commit to liberation. This week many of us spoke out against the horrendous conditions at MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center) Brooklyn where we were reminded to speak out for those currently being held by the state. Heat and shelter are basic human rights and I am so proud of the way this community stands up for these grave injustices. I am so grateful for each one of you and the ways you are spreading the justice and liberative love of God in all you do.
I have spent this week in Texas for Minister’s Week. Minister’s Week is a conference for ministers to learn and grow with each other and to offer support for the work we are called to do. I had meetings lined up and was excited to attend a lecture series on womanist midrash by my Hebrew Bible professor from seminary, The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney. Unfortunately, this week I have also been really sick. The type of sick that makes you want to be alone, in bed, doing nothing but sleep.
I had big hopes for this week. To share the incredible ministry of The Park and the vision that we are casting for our future with the wider Disciple community. After a full first two days, I realized that I was not capable of continuing at this pace. Which for me, felt a lot like failure to faithfully be the best steward of The Park’s ministry. I decided to not attend all the sessions the last day and only do the things that I had previously committed to. I had to come to terms with the fact that who I am in this moment was someone who needed to take a step back.
This week’s scripture helped me come to this decision as an act of faith. Read from 1 Corinthians Paul’s same struggle.
I am the least of the apostles; in fact, because I persecuted the church of God, I do not even deserve the name. But by God’s favor I am what I am. This favor that God has given to me has not proven fruitless. Indeed, I have worked harder than all the others, not on my own but through the grace of God. (1 Cor 15:9-10)
“I am what I am,” helped me understand that who I am right now, someone who needs to take a bit of rest to heal, is not any less the person I am when I am healthy and at my best. Both are created within me by God to build the kindom. Both were created to show me God at work in my life in both the good and challenging, the well and unwell, the spaces where I need to push forward and the times I need to take a step back.
Being authentically yourself is a gift, a favor from God. It will not always be easy. There will be challenges along the way. But God created us to be faithful to our unique created selves, with their own limits, gifts, and expectations in all we do. Even if all we can do is rest.
Friends, I hope you are happy, healthy, and giving yourself the grace you need to be yourself.
A quick prayer for your week: Lord, I am what I am and what I am is loved. Amen