Pastor’s Weekly Message: 03.27.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Liturgy is the shimmering of eternity in time.

We celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Peace at this site on Sunday.  Come join in the joy!

We had 15 people attend our New Friends of Peace Dinner last Sunday.  Thanks to Chuck Fisher for a magnificent meal and to Dabbie and Chuck for making the event happen!  Always such blessed energy as new friendships and community evolve.

We are now halfway through the season of Lent.  Don’t you feel better having sacrificed Habitual Negative Thinking!  Imagine how much lighter and freer you will feel by Easter!  Holy Week begins on April 13 with Palm Sunday and Easter is April 20.

This is also the week in which the Early Church gave the text of the Lord’s Prayer to the Baptismal Initiates/Catechumens but they were also informed that they couldn’t pray the Lord’s Prayer until after they were baptized because “it is the Holy Spirit who prays this prayer through you”.  Our final class on the Lord’s Prayer is offered at the Forum this Sunday.  Please join in.

Our Easter Choir is currently forming.  There will be a rehearsal after worship this Sunday.  All are invited to participate.

Thanks to those who have joined our new Sound Board Team:  Ken Budesa, Bill Carmel, Ron Elsdon and Jan Johansson.  This elite group may allow new members in the future.

Organ Concert – Friday, April 11 at 7:30 pm:   Gary will present an organ concert and share video presentations as a final fundraiser to pay off our new Organ Speakers.  A reception will follow.  Come and enjoy this delightful evening!

Lemon Pledge/Spring Clean Up Day – Saturday, April 12 from 4 – 5:30 pm:  This will be our only Spring Opportunity to get Peace as sparkling clean as possible – and we believe it can be done in 1 ½ hours….that’s how efficient we are.  All members of Peace are invited to participate.  Bring your own Lemon Pledge!

Life Together in Community:  A Lenten Reflection by Henri Nouwen

Community life opened me up to the real spiritual combat:  the struggle to keep moving toward the light precisely when the darkness is so real.  For example, sometimes in community I put claims on people that are so high that nobody can live up to them – emotional claims and expectations of which I am not fully aware.  I expect someone to take away my loneliness.  I expect that person to give me a sense of at-homeness.  I expect the community always to be a peaceful living together with no hard work or conflict.  When my expectations are not realized, I am left feeling upset, lonely and depressed.  Why are my expectations of others so high?  What need in me is not being addressed or fulfilled?

Community Requires Forgiveness:  Within the discipline of life in community are the twin gifts of forgiveness and celebration that need to be opened and used regularly.  What is forgiveness?  Forgiveness means that I continually am willing to forgive the other person for not fulfilling all my needs and desires.  Forgiveness says, “ I know you love me, but you don’t have to love me unconditionally, because only God can do that.”  I too must ask forgiveness for not being able to fulfill other people’s total needs, for no human being can do that.

We all have wounds.  We all live in pain and disappointment.  We all have feelings of loneliness that lurk beneath all our successes, feelings of uselessness that hide under all the praise, feelings of meaninglessness even when people say we are fantastic – and that is what makes us sometimes grab onto people and expect from them affection, affirmation, and love that they cannot give.  If we want other people to give us something that only God can give, we are guilty of idolatry.  We say, “Love me!” and before long we become demanding and manipulative.  It’s so important that we keep forgiving one another – not once in a while but every moment of life.  This is what makes community possible, when we can come together in a forgiving and undemanding way.

Our heart longs for satisfaction, for total communion.  But human beings, whether it’s your spouse, parent, sibling or child are all limited in giving the level of love and acceptance we all crave.  But since we want so much and we get only part of what we want, we have to keep on forgiving people for not giving us all we want.  So, I forgive you since you can only love me in a limited way.  I forgive my mother that she is not everything I would like her to be.  I forgive my father because he did the best he could.  This is of enormous importance right now because constantly people look to blame their parent, their friends, and their church for not giving them what they need.  Many people are so angry.  They cannot forgive people for offering only limited expressions of an unlimited love.  God’s love is unlimited; our love is not.  Any relationship you enter into – in communion, friendship, marriage, community or church – will always be riddled with frustration and disappointment.  So forgiveness becomes the word for divine love in the human context.

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. steve