Good News, 04.26.2012

Friends:

Praise to you, Holy One who by your love have reconciled all creation.  Innumerable galaxies worship you, creatures that grace the earth rejoice in you, and all those in the deepest seas bow to you in adoration.  With them we give you praise!  Grant that we may cherish the earth our home, and live in harmony with your good creation.  Sustain us Creator, Son and Holy Spirit – now and forever.  Amen. 

 As the seeds and plants have grown from Healing Prayer Sunday through Easter and Earth Day….so are we.   It was so much fun to sing “This Land is Your Land”!

We have our next Taize Contemplative Prayer Service this Friday evening at 7:00 pm.  If you desire calm centering, stillness and quiet presence – please join us.

It was a gift to have Amanda and Memo Jones-Dominguez with us from Entre Culturas/Between Cultures last week.  The dinner on Friday evening had wonderful participation from the members of Peace.  It is a blessing to experience how the Spirit continues to nourish our Global Partnership Ministry.  You will be hearing more in future weeks.

Pr. Elizabeth will be preaching this Sunday!

 The Pacific Choir will join us for worship on May 6.   Two groups – the Children’s Choir (with 20 kids) and the Youth Choir (with 30 kids) will sing throughout the service.  Expect another uplifting liturgy!  Please come to encourage these children and young people (and their parents) in this ministry of music and joy.  (The Pacific Choir rehearses weekly on Sunday nights at Peace.  This is their Thank You Gift to us.)

Please keep in your prayers the 4 Seminarians (including John and Brenda) who are receiving Healing Prayer Training with Pr. Margareta during these two weeks.  The Healing Prayer Team will have a retreat together this Friday afternoon.

Lutherans to discuss ecology online on May 12!  The Lutheran World Federation is promoting a  wider conversation on ecological justice. You are invited to participate in this first virtual conference.  See www.elca.org/localevents or www.elca.org/ecumenical.

Our annual Bocce Ball Picnic will happen on Sunday, May 20 after worship.  Save the date!

Setting the Table is a one year project which has received $7500 in grant money to nourish interfaith community relationships  by working with Earth, Faith and Food themes.  You are invited to participate in an Dinner Event on the evening of May 20.  Check the Gathering Hall Kiosk for details.

Mother’s Day is May 13.  We will have our Small and Tall Worship in the morning.  In the afternoon we intend for an I-SRV Art Exhibit to have its Grand Opening with the Jazz Church West presenting the fine music and compositions of Fred Randolph.  Be sure to bring your mother!

Blessings, 

Pr. Steve

Good News, 04.20.2012

Friends:

Because of the Incarnation and Resurrection nothing is profane and nothing is unholy for those who learn how to see.  Everything is charged with the presence of God.  This Sunday we celebrate Earth Day.  Here is a passage on Cherishing the Creation which you will appreciate.

“If nature is the new poor, then the Christian option for the poor and oppressed now includes the natural world.  If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, then the range of neighbors now includes the whale, the monarch butterfly, the local lake – the entire community of life.  If the common good requires solidarity with all who suffer, then our compassion extends to suffering human beings and other species caught in patterns of extinction.  ‘Save the rain forest’ becomes a concrete moral application of the commandment “Thou shall not kill.”

This in turn requires us to realize the deep connections between social injustice and ecological devastation.  Ravaging of people and of the land go hand in hand.  To be deeply true, prophetic action must not get caught in the trap of pitting social justice issues against issues of ecological health, but must include commitment to ecological wholeness within the struggle for a more just social order….A vision of justice as cosmic justice is the only adequate option.” (Elizabeth Johnson, “God’s Beloved Creation”)

I-SRV( Interfaith-San Ramon Valley) has received $7500 to implement a one-year program called “Setting the Table”! It will link our interfaith communities for dialogue and learning how each of us has regarded earth, faith and food in our spiritual traditions.  It is hoped that this process will deepen our appreciation of one another, heighten our respect for the earth and integrate our values.  Each congregation/community is invited to designate 3 persons or families to participate in Setting the Table.  If you are interested, our initial Planning Meeting is this Sunday April 22 at Peace from 5-6. You are welcomed to come and explore the possibilities.  Pick up a copy of the year’s intentions at Peace this Sunday.  (This will not include a CSA organic food program.)

The Entre Culturas Dinner with Staff Members Memo and Amanda Jones-Dominguez from Nicaragua is happening this Friday night at 6:00 pm at Peace.  15 – 20 people have already signed up.  You are invited to join in this nurturing occasion of our Partnership Ministry.

Greg and Tioni Collins have returned from Nairobi, Kenya.  Greg will now be working with USAID in Washington, DC.  I asked him to speak at Peace and give us an update about his work among the drought impacted of eastern Africa.  He agreed to do this in the near future.  Will let you know which Sunday that will be.

A friend commented after jazz with The Brewing Company this past Sunday, “The best part of the evening will be after the reception is over, the cleanup is done, and everyone has gone home…..the sanctuary will shiver with delight all the way down to its foundation at the amazing, real get down, funky cool music we’ve just heard.  Who’d expect it in a church…but then the building will hold that energy for all those who come in the future.”

If you wish to contribute to Peace through E-Script …..Here’s How it Works:

  • You register any one or all of your existing grocery loyalty, debit and credit cards for use in the program.
  • Participating merchants will make contributions to your chosen group, based on purchases made by you, just by using the cards you have registered
  • Your purchases are tracked and available to you online, allowing you to see just how much you are earning on your group’s behalf!

1.  Click on this link.

2. Click on Group ID and enter 157506598  (This is Peace Lutheran Church, Danville’s group number) in box and click “search.”

3.  Click on Peace Lutheran Church, Danville and click “next.”

4.  Follow the instructions to register and enter your Safeway card number and/or your existing credit/debit cards.

Portions of your purchase dollars make their way back to Peace and don’t cost you anything.

Read more about e-script here.

Another Tai Chi Chuan Class Series is beginning on Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 pm.  Learn balance, create a second heart in your body, deepen clarity through relaxation and harmonized chi flow.  The whole series is 12 weeks.  Check it out.

Easter Blessings,  Pr. Steve………PS

Two Among the Righteous Few:  A Story of Courage in the Holocaust: Come hear an engaging presentation on Monday, May 7, at 7 pm by Marty Brounstein the author at Beth Chaim. It’s a true story of interfaith compassion, courage, and doing the right thing.  The story is about a Christian couple in the Netherlands who, despite great risks, help save the lives of at least two dozen Jews from certain death during World War II.  There is a personal connection with the author as well.

Good News, 04.13.2012

Friends:

“Christ always gives his life and never takes life.  Because of that and because he was true to the First Creation – endlessly generous with life and endlessly generating life – he was raised up, the first to initiate the New Creation where all shall be reconciled.  The Risen Body of Christ is the First Seed of the New Creation, we have this seed of life sown in us and we by grace become these seeds ourselves.  The Seed is organic, slow, quiet, usually unnoticed and……. unstoppable.”  Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

Palm Sunday:   Passion Narrative,  Ho-ho/ Ha-ha/ He-he song, music, silence, foot washing.

Maundy Thursday SederThe world can be changed and we can be healed; ritual foods, Exodus Liberation & Lord’s Supper; most importantly – shared stories and real heart connections.

Good Friday:  Stillness, the Word, Faure’s Requiem, candle light, gathering under the Tent.

Easter VigilPie Jesu, stories and poems, improvisational music, Exultet, percussion, champagne cork flying to the ceiling, Eucharist, energy and joy Rolling the Stone Away!

Easter Day:  All the friends gathered, bells, rich music, children’s time, painting the interior of Pacem Totem, the choir, prayer for women, seeds sprouting, “Resusito, alleluia”, Resurrection Communion, more bells, ….and our Egg Hunt and Hospitality Hour!

Let me thank Elizabeth and John Hunter Ashley, Nancy Carlston, Bobbi Jardine. Lois McGee, Elana O’Loskey (and other angels I might have missed) for the delicious food and brightly decorated table for our Easter Hospitality Hour!  It was so welcoming for Peace members and our visitors!  With gratitude, Martha Mantei

The Liturgy for this Sunday, April 15 has been designed by Seminarian Brenda Bos and her Committee (Margaret Beeler, Greg Grebe, Pam and Chuck Fisher, Linda Benatar and Barbara Ghinazzi).  You know it will be creative.  Please come and support the prayerful efforts of Brenda and her Committee.  (Brenda will conclude her pastoral formation training at Peace on Pentecost at the end of May.)

On Being a Theologian of the Cross:  Brenda Bos and Margaret Beeler will lead this book study during the Adult Education Hour starting this Sunday April 15.  Copies are available at Peace.  Read the first chapter.  This is the follow up series we designed after our discussion on the Theology of the Cross versus the Theology of Glory.  All are invited!

Pacem Totem:  The artistic work continues to evolve.  During the Easter Season we will explore with paint and material “what might the inner journey of resurrection transformation been like for Jesus”? What is it like for us?  (Our thanks to Kaleo and Elise Ching and Bill Carmel for their continuing artistic leadership in this process!)

Entre Culturas:  Come and meet staff members of Entre Culturas who facilitate our Partnership Ministry with the community of Laurel Galan, Nicaragua on Friday, April 20 at 6:00 pm at Peace.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about our Partners and the Prayer Partner connections being established.  For details speak with Arlene Reed.

We are happy to announce Community Yoga Classes at Peace beginning in May 2012!  For more details, email yogaatpeace@gmail.com.  Further details can be found at www.yogaatpeace.org or by talking with Jeanne Kaplan.

The next 12 week series of Tai Chi Chuan Classes begin on Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 pm at Peace.  Beginners are always welcomed.  Talk to me if you have questions.

This Sunday the Jazz Church West hosts Clifford Brown, III and the Brewing Company.  Next generation jazz and way cool!  Join us at 5:00 pm.

We will celebrate Earth Day on April 22.

Easter Joy,  Pr. Steve

Good News, 04.03.2012

Dear Friends,

Our Palm Sunday Passion Narrative is always a powerful experience.  It was a tremendous beginning of our Holy Week.  Thanks to our narrators Brenda Bos, John Brett and Libby Flynn;  the choir and soloist Elizabeth Hunter; and percussionists John and Jack (this was his debut as a drummer!) Hunter-Ashley.  How gracefully the Spirit moves and shapes us.

Our Passover Seder is this Thursday at 6:30 pm.  Please bring with you the story of how your family arrived in this country. An evening rich in stories, ritual foods & joy awaits you.

Good Friday worship is at 7:00 pmplease bring a cross you can hold with you.  This will be a Contemplative Service of calm, reflection and stillness.

The Easter Vigil is celebrated at 7:30 pm on SaturdayPlease bring and open heart.  It is a service of solemnity, mystery and hilarity.

Easter Day – our worship is at 9:30 am. Please bring a friend with you.  It’s a chance to prepare for the rest of your life!  The Egg Hunt will follow.

A Baha’i friend stopped by recently and said, “Do you know why I like this church?  Because its design expresses the identity of the Peace congregation – it’s open, light filled and life-giving.  Everyone is welcome here and they feel it.” I pray this remains true for us and continues to be the experience for friends and guests of the Resurrecting One.

Sometimes the Spirit is too good:  The Jazz with Mads Tolling on Sunday was transcendent.  I understand if you find it hard to believe that Jean Luc Ponty, Danish folk tunes and Jimi Hendrix were igniting hearts and dancing on a jazz violin…..but it’s true!  Sometimes it is just astounding to find ourselves in the midst of such abundant gifts.

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Make no mistake:  if He rose at all

it was as His body;

if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules

re-knit, the amino acids rekindle,

the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,

each soft Spring recurrent;

it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled

eyes of the eleven apostles;

it was as His flesh:  ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,

the same valved heart

that – pierced – died, withered, paused, and then

regathered out of enduring Might

new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,

analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;

making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the

faded credulity of earlier ages:

let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not paper-mache,

not a stone in a story,

but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow

grinding of time will eclipse for each of us

the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,

make it a real angel,

weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,

opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen

spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,

for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,

lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are

embarrassed by the miracle,

and crushed by remonstrance.

John Updike

Blessed Triduum and Easter,  Pr. Steve