Pastor’s Weekly Message: 05.30.14

Friends:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget

falls drop by drop upon the heart

until, in our own despair,

against our will,

comes wisdom

through the awe filled grace of God.”

—Aeschylus, Greek playwright

Brock Klobe has graduated from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary—Congratulations, Brock!  A wonderful celebration was held last Friday at Peace with Brock’s parents.  Brock’s dad reported at the conclusion of the weekend celebrations, “My favorite thing we did while on the graduation trip was attending the Peace Party.”  Thanks to all who shared in and provided for the evening.

This Sunday our Forum will focus on Children’s Advocacy. Members of Peace have been working on behalf of children in multiple areas (hunger, sex trafficking, health issues and more).  Join in this conversation to learn more about what we might do.

Jazz Church West:  This Sunday at 5:00 pm will conclude our 9th Season celebrating the Human Voice with Clairdee and Dmitri Methany.  Joining them will be the Pacific Choir and Coelis Ensemble to perform our Jazz Theme Song “Sing Out!” composed in honor of Jazz at Peace. In addition Ed Klitsch celebrates 30 Years as our Jazz Cat – 3 decades of connecting congregations and jazz artists from across the country.

Summertime Celebration – Midsommer Solstice Party!  Time to enjoy the summer’s arrival – kick back and relax on Saturday evening June 21 with a tasty BBQ, good music, lots of friends and steel drums.  Spread the word – invite your friends.  Details to come.

Please keep in your prayers:  Jeanie, Gen, David, Lisa (Garrity), Margaret, and newborns:  William, Ryder and Layla.

Acolytes:  We now have a wonderful pool of trained acolytes.  All children are invited to become a part of this Sunday Worship “lighting of the candles” team.  (We will let you know the summer Sunday School Schedule soon.)

Mozart’s Coronation Mass will be performed by the Pacific Choir and Coelis Ensemble on Saturday, June 14 at 7:00 pm at Peace.  They are gifting Peace friends with 25 free tickets.  You may pick yours up on Sunday’s June 1 and 8.

Summer Clothing Exchange: Our 2nd Summertime Swap will occur on Sunday, June 22.  Plan on trading your stylish designs for new wardrobe contributions!

The unexamined life is not worth living. —Socrates

Ascension Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 05.22.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Everything is worthwhile —if the soul is not small. I am the size of what I see—not my height’s size. —Fernando Pessoa

Welcome Layla Grace Rodrigues born today at 8:43 am!  Carrie and Layla are doing great!  Jon too!

Happy 120th Birthday to Ceil McCloy and Dave Dobson.  What a remarkable accomplishment!  And what great people of commitment and celebration!

Summer Solstice Party:  Steel Drums and Midsommer Island Dreams—with a Real BBQ!  June 21 at 7:00 pm.  Relax, feast and welcome summer!

What an array of concerts we  enjoyed this past weekend:

The Sycamore Strings Academy—under the direction of Goran Berg.  (35 violinists ages 5 – 18 playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”)

“Spring Sing!”  The John Muir (Hospital) Chorus with our own Rev. Dwane Michael!

Upcoming:

  • Jazz Church West—Clairdee, Ken French and Dmtri Methany:   “Sing Out!” (Our Jazz Theme Song) will be sung with the Pacific Choir and Coelis Ensemble—June 1 at 5 pm.
  • The Mozart ‘Coronation Mass’ with The Pacific Choir and Coelis Ensemble – Saturday June 14 at 7:00 pm.  25 Free Tickets given to Peace Members!
  • Aloha kākou!  Kaleo is having an Art Exhibit of his paintings, masks, drawings along with Elise’s poetry in Bortin Hall at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Church, 55 Eckley Lane in Walnut Creek.  If you have questions email them at:  lotus@kaleoching.com.

Keep in your prayers:  Jeanie, recovering from knee surgery; Gen, recovering from a broken hip; Greg, from elbow surgery; Jon and Carrie and Layla.

The Potluck to celebrate Brock and his Parents is this Friday evening at 5:30 pm.  15 – 20 people have signed up.  Drop in to congratulate Brock who graduates this Saturday and meet and congratulate his parents!

I am nothing.

I shall never be anything.

I cannot even wish to be anything.

Apart from this, I have within me all the dreams of the world. —Fernando Pessoa

Easter Blessings, Pr. Steve

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 05.07.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck – and with luck comes obligation.  You owe a debt, and not just to God.  You owe a debt to the unlucky. —Michael Lewis

We will celebrate Mother’s Day and the Good Shepherd this Sunday.

Here are some insights from the mystic Julian of Norwich, an English Anchorite who was born in 1343.  She had a series of “Showings”/Revelations and today’s inclusions pertain to her feminine experiences of God and Christ.  She left the world with 3 major Learnings:

  1. That God is mother,
  2. That fear of God is not humility, and
  3. That even though we sin all will be well.

She left for us a concept of the femininity of God, the accepting and affirming presence of God and total trust in God.

She not only uses feminine imagery to refer to God and Jesus, but she explains it theologically.  She wrote:

As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother, and God revealed that in everything, especially in these sweet words where God says:  I Am – I am the power and goodness of fatherhood; I am the wisdom and lovingness of motherhood; I am the light and grace which is all blessed love; I am Trinity and I am the Unity.

I understand three ways of contemplating motherhood in God:   The first is the foundation of our nature’s creation; the second is God’s taking of our nature, where the motherhood of grace begins; and the third is the motherhood at work.

The mother can give her child to suck of her milk, but our precious Mother Jesus can feed us with himself, and does feed us most courteously and tenderly with the blessed sacrament, which is the precious food of true life.

(We have much more to learn!)

Joan Squire’s Memorial Service will be this Friday, May 9 at 11 am at Peace.

Brock informs us:  I found out Monday that the Religious Service Department at the Federal Prison in Dublin received a superior rating  – the best that can be received!  Congratulations to Chaplain Peggy Ashforth!

The Abba-Imma Lord’s Prayer workshop lead by Kaleo and Elise Ching and myself will be presented at San Damiano Retreat Center this Saturday from 9:30 – 4:30 pm.   Speaking in chorus with the 2,000 year old utterance of the Lord’s Prayer and moving in harmony with the ancient practice of Chi Kung, the Abba-Imma Chi Kung prayer blends Judeo-Christian and Taoist wisdom and compassion. You will learn the theological, philosophical, and spiritual background and context of the Lord’s Prayer along with exercises to open the mind, heart, and body.  The cost is $60.  Come learn more about the embodied practice of Jesus’ Prayer.

Congratulations to Mark and Sheila Miller on the birth of grandson William; and to Diana Keller on the birth of grandson Ryder!

Congratulations and thanks to Arlene Reed for 35 years of faithful ministry with Danville Elders through the Sing Alongs at Sunrise!

Please keep in your prayers:   Gen Estenson, Greg Grebe and Annie Haines – all recovering from surgery; the Squire Family; Ari, Veronique, the kidnapped young women, gratitude for prayers which have been answered; and all of our mothers.

Please complete your Justice Advocacy Surveys if you have not done so yet.

The Afrika Choir One will join us for worship on Sunday, May 18.  That afternoon the John Muir (Hospital) Chorus will offer a Concert at Peace at 4:00 pm.

Work as though everything depended on ourselves, and pray as though everything depended on God. St. Ignatius

 

Easter blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 05.01.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Be an Amateur:  that’s all any of us are — amateurs.  We don’t live long enough to be anything else.

—Charlie Chaplin

 

Happy Birthday to Gen Estonson!

You will be asked to complete a Justice Advocacy Survey this Sunday.

Afrika Choir One —a Tanzanian Choir from Resurrection Lutheran in Oakland will sing at our worship on May 18.  Don’t miss this!

Keep in your prayers:  Dana Squire and family (Joan’s Memorial Service is May 9 at 11 am), Rich Storelee, Gen Estenson, Greg Grebe, and Annie Haines who are all recovering from surgery.

Here is info about the Abba-Imma Workshop which Kaleo, Elise and I will lead at San Damiano Franciscan Retreat Center on May 10.

http://sandamiano.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2014-MAY-10.ABBA-IMMA.pdf

(Mudzunga Farisani visited us on Easter and sent me this letter recently.  In light of Seminarian Brock’s work with us and the emerging Peace Prison Ministry, I want you to experience her powerful reflection.)

Dear Friends of Peace,

Greetings in the name of the Most High God! The Surprise Guest’s visit still stands. I would like to share with you the experience we had as members of the Prayer Women’s League this past Sunday, the 13th April 2014. There were about twenty of us who visited those who are incarcerated at Polokwane  Prison/ Correctional Service. We have a standing schedule to visit this particular prison once per quarter. We are told that permission is granted from Pretoria which is their Head Office.

Our plan as always is to preach and ask for prayer items from those who are willing to share their pains. It is during this time of sharing their pains that you see some inmates crying nonstop. Some of us who brought the word would find ourselves in tears as well. On this particular Sunday we had thought of adopting inmates to become our prayer partners and not just make prayer an occasional event and not focus on individual inmates. Each inmate or at the most two were going to have a prayer partner from our prayer women group.

The plan did not materialize. We always visit women and on Sunday God had a different plan for us. We were surprised that there was a delay to visit inmates on that day. Little did we know that there were fights in the male section and the prison authority wanted us to preach and pray with them. We were in an open space and there over hundred prisoners attending our service. As the service went on, one would see tears in the eyes of those men. Some men could not hold their tears back, they defied the patriarchal society practices where crying is associated with weakness. They became true to themselves and to their God.

During the service we asked them to render musical items and they were so happy to do it. They were so thrilled to have had such a visit.

Sometimes we are not aware of how blessed we are, and we turn and forget to count our blessings and focus on the pain. Amongst the things I shared with the inmates, I made it clear to them that they are in a particular prison but some of us who brought the word of God maybe in a different prison altogether. There is no prison for me when I hate another person, nor do we have a prison for those that are doing evil inwardly, except that they hurt themselves and not another person. What is important is that if we confess our shortcomings, God is able to forgive even if the world may not forgive us. God’s grace is for all of us.

Each time I visit prisons I do not come back home the same person. There is so much to learn from each visit. The prison warders told us that after each visit there is always calmness from prisoners for a week or two. They went further to tell us that we are taking too long to come back and pray with them. Among prisoners there are those who come from neighboring countries and there are some from far away countries. Some family members cannot afford to have frequent visits and others do not have the means to do it at all.

The majority of prisoners feel very lonely although they are always in a crowd. They feel rejected and guilty about their wrongdoing. Prayer for them is key to their challenges, key to connect with God, key to deal with stressful situations, key to unconditional love, key to unlock prison doors, key to everlasting joy, key to Peace with God, and finally, prayer changes things.  When we pray we should believe.

I was just overwhelmed by the whole experience. I just needed to share this with you especially after Gun has shown interest and the seminarian is with you.

Many greetings from Tshenu, Nzumbu, Ndamu and Zwo.

Mulalo/ Peace to all members of Peace Lutheran Church.

Your sister, Mudzunga Farisani

Easter blessings and uprisings,  Pr. Steve