“Truth in Action” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

September 13th,2018 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

This week we celebrate the return of Pastor Kaji from her sabbatical. I am so thankful for a community that values the sacred time of sabbath. As a reminder, our homecoming celebration, which is our kickoff celebration for the ministries happening in the fall, is September 23. We hope to see you at worship and the celebration afterwards. It is going to be an event you don’t want to miss.

This text could not come at a more perfect time. It’s incredible how the spirit works this way. This week we are back in the book of Mark, and Jesus and Peter are having a heated argument. And what about? Well to put it simply, truth. Jesus is speaking truth to power and for whatever reason (more than one to be honest), Peter is not happy. As I read this text a few times this week, I kept imagining a conversation so many people running for office and their systems of support, such as a campaign manager or spouse, must have had that looked a lot like this. Read the passage from Mark below and see if you can imagine the same thing.

31Then Jesus began to teach them that the Promised One had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and religious scholars, be put to death, and rise again three days later. 32 Jesus said these things quite openly.
Peter then took him aside and began to take issue with him. 33 At this, Jesus turned around and, eyeing the disciples, reprimanded Peter: “Get out of my sight, you Satan! You are judging by human standards rather than by God’s!”

Speaking the truth is powerful, but it is also a vulnerable space. Jesus is just trying to be honest and tell his followers the truth about what is expected, and Peter tries to keep him quiet by taking issue with what he is saying. I keep thinking about what Peter is trying to accomplish. Is he trying to get more people to follow Jesus and he is afraid this harsh truth might freak people out? Is he himself too afraid of the future of this truth, that he doesn’t want it to spread? Is he in other words, trying to get Jesus elected by being more centrist than Jesus wants to be? Funny enough, I can relate to all that, and I bet you can too.

It is hard to be the one that breaks through the status-quo, especially if those who love us and who we trust, are trying to pivot us in another direction. But that is exactly what Jesus is telling us to do. To speak truth to power, evoke change, and cast inclusive and sustainable vision for all. It wasn’t an easy thing for Jesus and it’s not an easy thing for us. However, some of us do have one thing that can help us take that first step: the privilege to vote. Now, I recognize that not all of us have this privilege. Which is why, it is important to actually go out and cast your vote. Jesus is asking each of us to act, to not be afraid, to stand up to those trying to hold us back and use our space of privilege to evoke vision and enact change. So today, when you ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” the answer is, “Vote” and encourage others to do the same.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie