“Nevertheless She Preached – Huldah” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

August 9th,2018 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

What a pleasure it was to spend last week with you. We will have a link to share with you shortly where all the “Gospel According to Hamilton” sermons can be heard and seen. I have already watched some and they are great!! This week we continue with our Nevertheless She Preached series with a look at the Prophet Huldah. This week’s passage is a tough one. But since we are in a sermon series about the women of the Bible, I am going to focus more on Huldah and her story for this newsletter and my sermon this week. However, this story is one that we will revisit again and myself or anyone of our pastoral staff would be happy to have conversations about these texts with you. In fact, come to Bible study before service on Sunday and look deeper at the text there as well.

After service we hope you will join YASS as they gather together and build in fellowship and faith. Also, if you would like to join the Soulfood Fellowship group as they see Little Rock on August 29th, please RSVP to Rev. Sydney.

The TV show The Mindy Project was one that I used to play in the background of my seminary years. During one episode, Mindy is talking to her colleague and she says “Best friend isn’t a person, it’s a tier.” This statement rings true for many of us. For me, my best friends enter that tier at a certain point in my life where they intersect need, love, and wisdom. To this day, I still call a best friend that I know will be there for me, even if I haven’t spoken to them in months or even years. Because the people we trust with our truth are sacred to our lives.

I imagine this is a bit what the King was feeling when he heard the words of the Book of the Law (read Torah) and knew his people had not been following it. So, what does he do? He turns to someone that he knows will offer him the truth. Let’s read a bit of this story from the book of 2 Kings.

11 When the ruler heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12 He then gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam ben-Shaphan, Acbor ben-Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the ruler’s attendant: 13 “Go and ask God for me, for the people and for all Judah about the contents of this book that was found. God’s great anger must be smouldering against us, for our ancestors did not obey the commands in this book—they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.
14 Hilkiah the priest, Akiham, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum ben-Tikvahben-Harbas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the Second District. She said to them, “This is what God says: ‘Tell the person who sent you to me, 16 This is what God says: I will bring disaster on this place and on its people, according to everything written in the book the ruler of Judah read. 17 Because they abandon me and burned incense to other gods and provoked me to anger by all the idols made with their hands. My anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the ruler of Judah, who sent you to ask God, ‘This is what God, the God of Isreal, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard that I spoke against this place and its people, that you would become accursed and laid to waste, and because you tore your clothes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares God. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”
So they took her answer back to the ruler.”

When you hear bad news in your life, who do you turn to? Or more like Huldah, who turns to you when then need to hear a hard truth? I imagine that the king could have had any number of people search through tomes or write a book of their own to keep their king happy and to negate the law that was read to him.  But the king knew who to turn to and Huldah probably knew this time would come as well.

God had called Huldah as a prophet and with that comes responsibility to truth. Sharing that hard truth must have been challenging to hear for the King, but I can’t imagine the anguish that Huldah must have gone through, being the only one to know the truth and the destruction that follows.Whose truth do you hold? What trust did you have to gain to know that truth? We all have our own reality but often we need a friend/mirror, to keep us humble and faithful. To show us an honest reflection of ourselves in the world. To show us the person that God has called us to be. Huldah knew her gift and the king trusted her enough to reflect his truth and to hear it openly and honestly. It is a gift to be that mirror for people. Truth is a gift that God has given and worked into the fabric of the world. But it can also be hard to see and hear. Which is why the people we trust with holding our truths, are chosen with compassion and love.

Friends, This journey of life can be rough, may we have people in our lives that see that and treat our journey, our truths,  with care. This week, may you hold the sacred truth of your life and the lives of others into the light of God’s love and with the care and compassion they deserve.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie