“Which Way to Grow” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope this email has found you well and warm. This weather has been unpredictable so grab your t-shirt and your winter coat and I hope you will join me in worship this week. After worship I hope you will attend the LatinX-Language Lab. Please see Rev. Jeanette for more details about this amazing ministry. Also, now that we don’t have the scaffolding in front of the church, we are getting more and more visitors. What a blessing new faces are. Janet Martin who chairs our Deacons is looking for volunteers to help welcome people in the morning before worship. Please see me or Janet if this is a ministry you are called to participate in.
I have a plant in my house that has many homes. I got this plant a little over a year ago and I immediately put it in the widow to get some sunlight. Now, I am awful at keeping plants alive, so after I placed it there, I forgot about it for a month. I had good intentions but was not properly trained in the care of this plant. So, after a month I remembered about the plant and went to check on it (luckily, I didn’t kill it by not watering it!). The plant, a succulent tree-like plant, that had come into my home upright and full of life and was bent over trying to get to the last bit of sunlight this window sill got during the day. I quickly watered it and moved it to a room that had more direct light this time of year. As the months went on, I remembered to water it, and it started to grow upright again, until the seasons changed, and I realized that this plant was bent over the other side. So, I moved it again to another space with more light. I now have a seasonal rotation of where to place this plant for it to survive. Because this plant, like us as a community, needs to be in motion for it to grow.
This plant, in its own movement toward the sun, showed me where it needed to grow. Which is why as I read this week’s scripture on Monday, I moved my plant to its spring location. This week’s scripture shares with us some hard truths about the world we live in, but it also leaves us hints into how we are called to move so that we might grow. Let’s look at this week’s scripture from Luke.
27 “To you who hear me, I say: love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 When they slap you on one cheek, turn and give them the other; when they take your coat, let them have your shirt as well. 30 Give to all who beg from you. When someone takes what is yours, don’t demand it back.
31 “Do to others what you would have them do to you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit does that do you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 If you do good only to those who do good to you, what credit does that do you? Even ‘sinners’ do as much. 34 If you lend to those you expect to repay you, what credit does that do you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to other ‘sinners’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 Love your enemies and do good to them. Lend without expecting repayment, and your reward will be great. You’ll rightly be called children of the Most High, since God is good even to the ungrateful and the wicked.
36 “Be compassionate, as your loving God is compassionate. 37 Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Pardon, and you’ll be pardoned. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: a full measure – packed down, shaken together and running over – will be poured into your lap. The amount you measure out is the amount you’ll be given back. (Luke 6:27-38)
God is calling us to grow toward our “enemies,” to move with those that mistreat us, and make amends with those whom we have mistreated as a society. Our call to follow Jesus is always showing us the direction we need to go and the things we need to adjust in order to grow to our potential. It is hard. Sometimes we may feel forgotten or hurt. The words and actions of another, fresh on our hearts. And we may be fed for a moment in our sorrow and anger, for those are both holy emotions. But then we remember that God is with us, calling us to something within those states of being, calling us to find the sun on our forgotten window sill. Or maybe we are the one who forgot you there. All it takes is a little movement, to remind us of our call. To remind us that it takes not only our own movement of self, but that of a community attuned to the needs of its members, to truly grow and thrive as the kindom of God.
A quick prayer for your week: Lord, help me know where to grow. Amen