“Rooted in Resurrection: The Living” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

April 28th,2022 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Friends,

I hope this email finds you safe and healthy and loving the sunny day. I continue to be filled with such energy and excitement coming back into our sanctuary and worshipping our ever-present God with all of you who join in person, and I continue to be grateful for the ways those of you who worship and do ministry with us online engage and grow our incredible community. If you haven’t had the opportunity to join us in person and you are comfortable and able to do so, we hope you will consider it, but know that every member of The Park – be you in person or online – are a beloved and valued member of this community.

This week’s scripture comes from the book of Matthew, and it is such a wonderful text to Root us is Resurrection. It reminds us that the work we do here in this life matters. So often we think about resurrection (and really all things that are holy) as being located in a heavenly space far away from the humanness of this life. But God reminds us that the work of the resurrection is not for those who have gone home to God, but for the living. We in our very beautiful, broken, and believing bodies – today – need the work of resurrection. The hope and the grace that comes when something new begins. But it can be a challenge. Life is hard and life with people – especially people we don’t have deep relationship with – is often challenging. But the newness that comes with the resurrection, and the hope that dwells in us when we root ourselves in Jesus is an invitation to choose now to commune with God and each other. So let us open our hearts to the text, and use our eyes to read the words, and posture our bodies to receive the Good News of Christ that is for us and of us – the living.

23 The same day [that Jesus taught about taxes] some Sadducees came to him, saying there is no resurrection; and they questioned him, saying, 24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without having children, his brother shall marry the [widow] woman, and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and without having offspring, leaving the woman to his brother. 26 The same for the second, and the third, to the seventh. 27 After everything the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, then, for which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her.”
29 Jesus answered them, “You all are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, rather they are like angels in heaven. 31 And about the resurrection of the dead, have you all not read what was said to you by God, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is God not of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astounded at his teaching.

Matthew 22:23-33 (Year W)

  • Do you agree that God is of the living? What does that mean to you?
  • The woman in this story is talked about like property, what might it mean to know her name and her story and to share it with the loving affection that happens when we share our holy stories?
  • What do you think it would feel like to have Jesus tell you that you are wrong?
  • What are unhelpful ways this text has been understood and what is its message of liberation?

Friends, I leave for two weeks to go on a continuing education trip to the Holy Lands of Palestine and Israel on Monday. I will carry you all with me and pray for you all as I journey the stories of our scriptures. I will be bringing our scriptures for the next two weeks with me as well praying and studying them with you- just from afar. While we are apart, I hope that you remain curious about the texts, wrestle with the hard questions of our faith, and find everlasting comfort knowing that our God is always present and speaking. I am so grateful for this community and hope you have a wonderful next few weeks.

Shalom Y’all

Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O Holy One, Thank you for being God of my Now. Amen