Sunday Preview from The Rev. Stephanie Kendell: “The Debts of the Self”
This week we welcome the Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel to preach and his enthusiasm and passion for justice means you won’t want to miss this Sunday.
So, I have been here a couple of months getting to know each of you and your stories. I am at a moment where the worship hour, the people, and the space are all starting to feel like mine, and I hope I am starting to feel like yours. I care about what is happening in your life. I value the time we spend together in worship. I pray for this community as we discern together how best to live into our call as Christians. However, living in the here and now, and being a part of this community does not mean that I don’t notice all the ways that this community is different than my old community. A community that I also loved dearly, a community that I sometimes long for when I need to feel “at home.” My faith life carries the trace of the past, but lives fervently in the present. Yet, my present isn’t something I can hold onto because God calls us into a relationship of movement. A relationship of forward momentum. In other words, God calls us into a life of discipleship. So, this week’s text offers us an understanding of the momentum of Justice that is present in the spirit of discipleship that we are called to live into.
The spirit of adoption that Paul is talking about is the same spirit that calls us into new beings in Christ. That we are not to fall back on the ways of comfort or the ways of our past, but move forward by following the ways of a renewing and redeeming Christ. And forward momentum is hard. It is really hard. Moving beyond what is comfortable and into a space that is unknown is hard work because it is a choice that we not only have to make but that we must live into.
My Ema (my Grandmother) was my favorite person and best friend. She is in all my favorite childhood memories, she gave me my first bible, but most of all, she taught me how to laugh and live life with passion. I put her on a pedestal and she remains there. But as much as I love her, she also had her faults. As a white middle-class woman born in the 20’s she carried embedded racisms from her childhood that she did not shed until her passing. Now, I carry the love and pain of her loss every day, but I do not carry her same bigotries. This is hard to share because I love her so deeply, but I share it because it is important to know you aren’t doing this work alone. The debt we owe to the people who raised us, loved us, or inspired us, does not require loyalty to their bigotries, racism, or sexism. Removing yourself from those systemically oppressive realities that built and defined the generations before you, and follow Christ’s call to love your neighbor, is truly the work of the church. Building up the kin-dom of God means having to tear down the structures of inequality that keep us divided. The spirit of adoption that calls us to discipleship is bigger than the boundaries of binary assumptions that operate in oppression. However, it is through our faith and community that we can aid its work along. This spirit of adoption is the most rewarding gift if we are open to letting it love us and lead us.
Church, this week my prayer for us is that we sit with this text and ask ourselves what debts of the flesh do we carry that are not ours to continue? How might the spirit of adoption lead us to break our barriers and build bridges to the church so that others might know the love of God? This is the task of the present for the love of the future.
Esta semana damos la bienvenida al predicador, el Revdo. Dr. Heltzel. ¡Su entusiasmo y pasión por la justicia es tal que no te querrás perder el servicio del domingo!
Llevo, aquí, con ustedes unos meses conociéndoles y escuchando sus historias. Me encuentro en un momento en el que la comunidad, el espacio y la hora de adoración se empiezan a sentir míos. A la misma vez, espero que empiecen a sentirme suya. Me interesa saber lo que ocurre en sus vidas. Valoro el tiempo que compartimos en adoración. Continúo orando para que esta comunidad pueda discernir cómo vivir mejor el llamado como cristianos. No obstante, aún entre ustedes, y siendo parte de esta comunidad, también me doy cuenta de lo distinta que es de mi antigua iglesia, la que amo, y a veces añoro, cuando necesito sentirme “en casa”. Mi trayectoria de fe tiene vestigios del pasado, pero vive con fervor en el presente. Sin embargo, mi presente no es algo que puedo retener para siempre porque Dios nos llama a una relación de movimiento. En otras palabras, Dios nos llama a una vida de discipulado. Por ende, el texto de esta semana nos ofrece un entendimiento sobre el movimiento de la justicia que vive en el espíritu del discipulado, al que somos llamados a vivir.
Apreciada iglesia, esta semana oro para que nosotros podamos meditar sobre el texto bíblico y preguntarnos qué deuda de la carne cargamos que no nos toca honrar. Cómo puede dirigirnos el espíritu de adopción para romper nuestras barreras internas y construir puentes que desemboquen en la iglesia para que otros puedan conocer el amor de Dios. Esta es la tarea cristiana del presente para que el amor reine en el futuro.