“On Being More” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

November 15th,2018 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

After months of preparation and casting vision for the life of the church, I am so grateful to each of you that joined us for the Congregational Meeting and worship last Sunday. Together we set into motion the mission and vision for the ministries of the church for 2019, while reminding us that we actually aren’t an “us” but a global “we.” I see God in each of you and am so thankful to be a member for this incredible community.

This week, we are still in the book of our sister Ruth, who with her Mother-in-law are really just trying to make their way in the world. A world that as much as I would like to say we have left behind, parallels a lot of what we see in our world today. Now all stories carry nuance, and this one is no exception. Ruth is foreign to the fields of Boaz near Bethlehem, she is a widow, childless, and caring for her Mother-in-law. So, Naomi with great love for Ruth dreamed of a better life for her and advises her to give her body to Boaz up for safety. Let’s read together this portion of Ruth’s story.

“3 Wash up and put on perfume and dress in your finest clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor. But don’t let him know you’re there until he has finished eating and drinking.
4 “When he goes to sleep, watch to see where he lies down. Then go and uncover his feet’ and lie down with him. He’ll tell you what to do next.”
5 Ruth replied, “I will do as you tell me.”

Why do you think that Naomi suggested this to Ruth? What did Ruth not possess (in Naomi’s opinion) that required Boaz in Ruth’s life? Why was Ruth’s body the payment for the attention of Boaz? And the real question, why can I place so many of my friends in 2019 in place of Ruth in this story? So many women continue to think that their worth is in their ability to be, and to be found sexual. But we are so much more.

This week, I hope we can prayerfully consider how we internalized the sexualization of people and what might become of our relationships with others, when we change our mindset. What have we gained from those notions? What do we have to change in ourselves to see the partnered and non-partnered members of our community as not only “good enough”, but “whole” in and of themselves. How can we as friends and neighbors support each other without suggesting that a partner is necessary for a successful or happy life, and that who we are as sexual people is the only way into being in a valued relationship. Partners can be wonderful and enhance our lives in new ways. But if we expand our understanding of who we are called to care for, if we expand our understanding of who our partners in life are, then new avenues of support and love make themselves known. And we see God at work in new ways and in new relationships.

A short prayer for your week: Lord, let me be whole in myself. Let me be complete in me, because I know that I am complete in you. May I be known for my internal worth and share it freely with others. Amen.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie