“Walk the Talk” – Sunday Preview for January 28 by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
We have a couple of things to remind you about this week. This Sunday we have the incredible responsibility of reviewing the budget for the coming year, so we hope you can faithfully and prayerfully join us at 12:30 pm for a community discussion. We will also have our congregational meeting next week starting at 10:30 am. Both weeks Pastor Kaji will be bringing us a message that I know you won’t want to miss. All of this review to say, “We hope to see you Sunday!”
Last Saturday some of our YASS group (Young Adults) went to the Women’s March. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets all over the country to stand up to the oppressive forces and structures that create and sustain power imbalances, and The Park stood with them. These past few weeks we have been a really active community. From the Jericho Walks to the Women’s March this community has put into motion the words of justice that we have professed all year.
However, I have noticed that at each of these marches our scriptures keep popping into my head and this week’s scripture is no exception.
I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Cor. 7:29-31)
There are a lot of different justice movements happening and they are all interconnected. For example: Women’s rights are economic rights, health care is an issue of race, and racism is an issue of economic disparity. And while no issue is just one issue, through this week’s scripture I think we know all of these movements against systems of injustice have at least one major thing in common…movement. Once we start to name and address oppressive structures they can never be the same, because we are not the same. Movements mean change. Movements mean progress. Movements mean we will no longer be static and accept the injustices of our world. Following Jesus makes that impossible.Following Jesus means that every time we say #metoo, “Times Up,” or “I stand with Ravi” we are not accepting the status-quo of empire.
Following Jesus means a ministry of presence. Present in the streets for every march. Present in the courtroom at every immigration hearing. Present in the polls to vote. Present in church to give of your whole self. As the letter to the Corinthians shares, “the present form of the world is passing away,” but we can only put it behind us when we take the leap into action.
Church, now is this time to prayerfully ask yourself what in this present day needs to pass away but can’t until you take a first step? That is what church communities are for and why it’s important to give of your gifts to building them in sustaining ways. Church communities are here to support you, love you, and help you take this first steps in the movements of justice, that help you more faithfully follow Jesus.