“Rooted in Discernment: Epiphany” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

January 6th,2022 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter
Beloved Friends,

I hope that you are continuing to celebrate all the newness that comes with this new Christ Child and this New Year and that all your celebrations have been met with health and love. I am so grateful to start a new year once again with you all. We hope that you are enjoying the new ROOT curriculum and that you are finding meaning and practice is the tool of discernment. This Sunday we hope to see you in worship at 11 am and be sure to mark your calendar for our first Community Conversation around out ROOT reading for the month on Jan 17th.  SO much continues to happen in the life of the church and we hope you will join us!

Today is the day we celebrate the Epiphany! It’s a day in the life of the church that we celebrate those that first knew and believed in Jesus Christ as God incarnate.  What faith that must have taken. What courage and fear and hope must have been present as well.  I invite you to reflect on your own journey with the church. Have there been times you changed your mind or believed something different? What are catalysts to the deepening of your faith?  Hold onto these questions as we read from Isaiah about all that the Holy One can do. It uses some language that may not be as familiar to some of you, but its ability to inspire and bring God’s truth into the world in new ways is a wonder to behold. Let’s discern together the good news of this text:

Isaiah 60:

Arise, daughter; shine, daughter; for your light has come, daughter,
and the glory of the Holy One has risen upon you, daughter.
For- watch now, daughter! -bleakness shall cover the earth,
and thick bleakness the peoples;
and upon you, daughter, the Holy One will arise,
and over you, daughter, God’s glory will appear. Nations shall come to your light, daughter,
and monarchs to the brightness of your dawn, daughter.
Lift your eyes round about, daughter, and see;
all of them gather, they come to you, daughter;
daughter, your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ hips.
Then, daughter, you shall see and be radiant;
your heart, daughter, shall tremble and swell,
because the abundance of the sea shall turn toward you, daughter,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you, daughter.
A multitude of camels shall cover you, daughter-
young camels of Midian and Ephah-
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praises of the Holy One.
Your gates shall always be open, daughter;
day and night they shall not be shut,
so that nations shall bring you their wealth, daughter,
being led by their monarchs.

When I think of an open gate, I think of possibilities, liberation, and miracles. I also think of the communion table and the fact that it too – is always open. It takes faith and people and planning and vision to keep something always open – always at the ready. What might you need to do in your life to prepare to receive the wonders of God? I read this text and not only do I think of new people for whom this text is so beautifully applicable, but I think of the ways it postures us to receive miracles through all the unexpected things that God can and is doing with us and through us. This week, I invite you to discern what those things might be in your life.

Friends, may this epiphany inspire something new in you. May you deepen your faith in ways you did not know you needed. And may the love and power of the Holy One be present this day and always.

Happy New Year!
Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O Holy One, for new faith and open gates we give thanks. Amen.