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Leaving a Legacy of Life.

Recently, I sat in a room with a gentleman who prayed: "Dear Lord, we thank you for those whose deaths leave a legacy of life."

It was in response to a 14-year-old girl who recently passed away while awaiting for a heart transplant at Riley Children's Hospital.  During her stay, she organized a weekly bake sale from her room in order to raise money for a park to be built that children in the hospital could use. Prices ranged from 50 cents for a Rice Krispy Treat to $5 for Banana Bread. All told, Jaden Lauderdale raised more than $15,000. Though she did not live long enough to see the park's completion, her legacy lives on.

"Dear Lord, we thank you for those whose deaths leave a legacy of life."

My wife and I lost a dear friend of ours earlier this month to an aggressive cancer that took her life at far too young an age.  Hers is a life, however, that “echoes through eternity.”  Sarah was a gifted teacher who loved her students with passion and depth.  She was a tremendous mother to her two little boys, and a loving wife to her husband.  Throughout her battle with cancer and in the recent days since her death, a multitude of people – friends, family, students, co-workers – have come forth sharing story after story of the ways Sarah’s life impacted their own.  She made people want to be better people.  Her life inspired others to want to love fiercely.  Talk about a legacy.

"Dear Lord, we thank you for those whose deaths leave a legacy of life."

And then there was last week, when I attended a Pastoral Leadership Program sponsored by the Lilly Endowment and Duke University.  It was a tremendous week of learning and befriending other young clergy colleagues from across the country.  I had an incredible time, and could not help but reflect on all who helped make it possible.  Of course, there were the gracious hosts who opened up their beautiful home to host us.  And there were the program directors who shared their knowledge and passions openly.  But there were all those others – folks like Mr. Lilly whose generosity and Kingdom-vision led him to create a philanthropic endowment that funds a multitude of Church projects throughout the world.  There are also countless others who have contributed to the endowment of Duke’s Divinity School as well.  Their giving helps keep tuition down and also funds leadership programs for pastors.  And there are folks like you – people in our church who have tithed faithfully and given abundantly so that God’s work might be done through Fishers UMC.  
I want to live my life in such ways that my legacy reverberates with the overflowing generosity of God. I want to live a legacy of life.  

Dear Lord, we thank you for those whose lives lead a legacy of Life.

Pastor Jared Kendall
Associate Pastor

Posted by Jared Kendall with

The Way of Jesus

In the wake of recent national events, I wrote the following on my Facebook page.  It seemed to resonate with a lot of people, and so today I share it with you.  May we offer the world a better way – the Way of Jesus.

“Sometime around 1960, my father - a baby at the time - was left at an orphanage in South Korea. He never knew his biological parents, who, I can only assume, made the most responsible, loving decision they/she could during a very difficult time. Thankfully, my father was adopted by an American couple - one of whom immigrated to the United States from England with her parents when she was a little girl.

A few years prior and completely unbeknownst to my father, my mother's father fought along the 38th parallel in the Korean War. Once or twice, my grandpa would tell me stories of his time in the war. They were pain-filled memories, but also ones of hope. My grandpa fought in the U.S. army alongside the South Koreans and other persons of color within his own regiment.

I am the product of a South Korean man and a U.S. Caucasian woman.

I am proud of that. And I am proud of them.

I am especially proud of them and for the memories I have during the particularly difficult times when they, we, my sisters, and I have been victims of racist remarks, labels, assumptions, actions, and behaviors.

I begin with their story, because their story is my story. I am the "hyphen." I am Korean-American. Perhaps this is why I feel such kinship with the God-Man, Jesus the Christ. He is the paradigmatic "Hyphen" who invites all who follow him to live a similar existence - as persons who walk with one foot on earth and the other in the Kingdom of God. Of course, Jesus-followers know that their allegiance to Christ takes priority over their allegiance to any particular flag. Sometimes we forget or too quickly conflate the two.

I also share this because I believe, very deeply, that we are #BetterTogether. I know that is not easy, that it takes work, that it takes humility and the willingness to learn from those different than ourselves. I also know this is a work we MUST be about and for which we must diligently strive, particularly we who call ourselves followers of Jesus.

There is no place for racism. There is no place for national rhetoric rooted in fear. There is no place for partisanship, denominationalism, or even something as basic as school-allegiance to divide us any longer.

This is a call for diligence. This is a call for repentance. This is a call for forgiveness. This is a call to no longer be afraid.

For it is most certainly true: "There is no fear in love. For perfect love drives out fear." 1 John 4:18

#BeTheChange

Pastor Jared Kendall
Associate Pastor

Posted by Jared Kendall with

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