“What Comes Down When Heaven is Torn Apart?” – Sunday Preview for Jan. 14 by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

January 11th,2018 Categories: Latest News, Stephanie Kendell Letters
Beloved Church,


Oh, my beloved friends, what a gift last Sunday was. To see so many of you gathered in our sanctuary and online to honor Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson and to hear such an inspiring word from Rev. Terri Hord Owens, my heart overflows. I hope you will join us this week as we gather again to worship a God who draws us to this church and to each other. This Sunday we will also give thanks to Saya Callner for her love and dedication to this community. We hope to see you there!

Well, it’s the new year. And with a new year comes resolutions. I have heard them all this year; lose weight, save money, drink more water, travel, learn a new language, etc. This list goes on and on. Do you have any that you are working on? One thing that I have noticed in talking with people about their resolutions is that they primarily focus on things that we feel need to be “fixed.”

Being fixed is a conversation that I like to stay away from. Largely because I don’t believe most things need to be fixed. “Fixing” is trying to go back on something that God has made anew. As we see in this week’s scripture, God is not a fixer, God is a giver of grace and renewal. Let’s read this week’s scripture from Mark 1:4-11.

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

God is at work in the love and grace of renewal. Those that John baptized were not fixed of sin, but forgiven and made anew. Jesus baptized was not a fixed person, but made anew in the baptism of community and grace. When the heavens tore open, God did not fix or repair them, God came through the heavens toward earth.Church, what are we trying to hold together or fix that isn’t letting God through? What is God doing in our lives in the torn and broken areas that we keep trying to “fix,” where God had already started something new? Jesus did not need to be baptized but Jesus made a commitment in this act that connects each one of us to each other. And in that commitment from Jesus, and when we show up and commit to each other, God breaks opens that which seems closed, and breaks through into the world that often seems forgotten.

In this new year, I hope you know that when you are broken and torn apart, God is with you. Loving, Renewing, and committing to you. I hope you will make that same commitment to yourself.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie