Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.30.15

Grace Waves

Friends:

Except in faith, nobody is humble.   The mask of weakness or Phariseeism/legalism is not the naked face of humility.

Except in faith, nobody is proud.  The vanity displayed in all of its varieties by the spiritually immature is not pride.

To be, in faith, both humble and proud:   that is, to live, to know that in God I am nothing, but that God is in me. Markings, Dag Hammarskjold

“Aging Gracefully” – Spiritual Direction Group:  Spiritual Direction enables us to discern and clarify our calling – right where we are in life….and discover the joy of now.  Pr. Margareta leads and facilitates this group which will continue to meet on Tuesdays at 1 pm at Peace through May 26.  After a summer break the group will resume in the Fall.  Bring a favorite scripture passage with you to the gathering next Tuesday.  To learn more contact Pr. Margareta at margareta@peacejourney.org or 648-7004.

Small and Tall Worship/Mother’s Day, May 10 – Our liturgy will be designed for all our children on Mom’s Day.  Pure fun and joy.  As Jesus said, “Let all the children come to me!”

Two of Bill Carmel’s art pieces were accepted into the Interfaith Exhibition at the Islamic Center in Oakland.  The Opening is this Saturday, May 2, 5 – 8 pm. There will be speakers, refreshments, live music and plenty of opportunities to view the artwork and meet the artists. If time allows, we will have informal tours of the artwork in which each artist will have 1 – 2  minutes to talk about their artwork to visitors. The Exhibit will be open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm, between May 3rd and May 30th.

Jazz Church West presents Latin Jazz with John Calloway and Clave Unplugged on Sunday, May 3 at 5:00 pm.  Our Cinco de Mayo Celebration will be caliente!

Art Exhibit Opening – Californian Golden Autumn:  Sunday’s jazz evening will also host Thais Helena’s Art Opening.  Immerse yourself in beauty.  Invite friends to join you.

“Race to Nowhere” – Monday, May 11 at 7:00 pm.  Mark your calendars now so that you will see this important film about the educational and personal stresses our children are experiencing as they grow up in our Valley.  A panel discussion will follow.  Our Education Committee and Chris Pancoast are organizing this viewing.

Global Awareness Sunday:  This Sunday we will look through the lens of the Millennium 2015 Goals at how our world is meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and the earth itself.  This is inspired by the life and work of Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations, whose plane was shot down while he was pursuing a Peace Mission in the Congo of Africa.  To prepare you might want to check out this Ted Talk:  http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_the_good_news_of_the_decade.  In it Hans Rosling reframes 10 years of UN data with his spectacular visuals, lighting up an astonishing — mostly unreported — piece of front-page-worthy good news: We’re winning the war against child mortality!

First Friday Films:  FFF is not hosting a film this Friday evening in order to support and encourage your participation at the ‘Race to Nowhere’ film on Monday, May 11!

Keep in your prayers:  The people of Nepal, those enduring civil war in Iraq, caregivers, those who stir us with imagination, courage and hope, friends who pray for us, the children of our world.

Riots are the voice of the unheard.  Do I condemn the riots?  Yes, of course.  But I equally condemn the conditions imposed by the power structure that create the riots.  Martin Luther King

Easter blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.22.15

Grace Waves

Friends:

He saw the Western world as increasingly alienated from the principles which give life significance and beauty – as approaching the condition of a machine out of control and hastening towards destruction….the organic sense of life was being shattered into countless unconnected fragments…urging sterile mechanical processes instead of the spontaneous movements of body and soul. —Anghelos Sikelianos

The Coelis Ensemble presents the spectacular “Spring Delight” Concert this Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 pm.  This concert continues to nurture a classical series at Peace and is a fundraiser for our United Nations 70th Anniversary Celebration at Grace Cathedral on June 27.  Please invite friends to join you for this marvelous evening of inspiration and grace.

“Aging Gracefully”:  Pr. Margareta will lead and facilitate a group who will reflect on the challenges and gifts of aging.  Already 7 people have signed up.  The group will meet on Tuesdays at 1 pm at Peace starting April 28 and going through May 26.  After a summer hiatus the group can resume in the Fall.   Contact the Office or Pr. Margareta if you wish to learn more.

Scared for health, afraid of death, bored, dissatisfied, vengeful, greedy, ignorant and gullible – these are the qualities of the ideal consumer.  Can we imagine an education that would turn passive consumers into active and informed critics, capable of using their minds in their own defense?  —Wendell Berry

Thanks to the half dozen folks who assisted in the landscape projects after our Earth Day Worship this past Sunday.  What a precious gift our Earth is!

Jazz Church West presents Latin Jazz with John Calloway and Clave Unplugged on Sunday, May 3 at 5:00 pm.  (The ‘Flash Mob’ Concert was an overwhelming success with more than a 130 people in attendance for the incredible evening created by Anton Schwartz!)

Art Exhibit Opening – California Golden Autumn:  The jazz evening of May 3 will also host the Opening for our own artist Thais Helena.  Anticipate beautiful art for your heart and soul.

Race to Nowhere” – Monday, May 11 at 7:00 pm.  Mark your calendars now so that you will see this important film about the educational and personal stresses our children are experiencing as they grow up in our Valley.  A panel discussion will follow.  Our Education Committee and Chris Pancoast are organizing this viewing.

A new Tai Chi Class series begins this Thursday at 7:00 pm at Peace.  Want to participate?  All you need is comfortable clothing and an open mind.

Mother’s Day – May 10 – Small and Tall Worship:  Our service on Mom’s Day will be devoted to all our children and grandchildren.   A surprise guest will delight you to no end!

Invite all the kids you wish to join you.

If ‘freedom’ means purely and simply an uncontrolled power to make money in every possible way, regardless of consequences, then freedom becomes synonymous with ruthless, mindless and absolute exploitation – an arbitrary tyranny.  Preserving our American ‘way of life’ without preserving the environment which makes life possible is the height of biblical foolishness.  An ecological consciousness recognizes we are dependent members of the biotic community.  We have obligations toward the other members of this vital community whom we are not free to destroy.  —Thomas Merton

Earthy blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.17.15

Grace Waves

Friends:

The Earth and all it enlivens belong to God; the world and all beings who live here display the glory of God!

(Psalm 24)

We celebrate Earth Day this Sunday.  You are invited to wear work clothes and assist Ken and Lynn in the care of our grounds for an hour after worship.  Praising God can be offered in all forms including hands, muscles and sweat!

Lovely Concert at Peace:

“Spring Delight” with the Coelis Ensemble on Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 pm.  A luscious, classical welcoming of the abundance of springtime life.  What gifts are in store for us!

“Spring Delight’ will benefit our UN 70th Anniversary Concert on June 27 at Grace Cathedral.  Director Hyunjung Choi has committed her choirs to raising $3,000 to support the UN Event in June!  Please invite friends to join you for this amazing ensemble of vocalists!  Yes, heaven will sound like this.

You are invited to Tea at The English Rose in downtown Pleasanton on Saturday, April 25 at 11 am.  Join friends from Peace for this occasion.  Flyers are in the Gathering Hall.

Mother’s Day/Small and Tall Worship – May 10:  We will have a special liturgy on Mom’s Day devoted to and celebrating all of our children, grandchildren and all our children’s friends who come to worship that day!  It will be a truly joyful and playful service with a surprise guest.  Don’t miss this wonderful occasion!

Please keep in your prayers:  Linda Elsdon on the sudden death of her brother, Fidel and Heidi Taylor, those who are mourning the death of loved ones, those without food and shelter, Phil Stanley, Pr. Bob Lesher, the Ezidis, and for the wisdom to keep centered and prayerful.

The film “Race to Nowhere” will be shown on Monday, May 11 at 7:00 pm.  Our thanks to Chris Pancoast and our Education Committee for coordinating this event. Click here to read more about this event. 

Easter Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.10.15

Grace Waves

Friends – an Easter Prayer:

Ever Amazing God,

we thank you for the empty tomb,

which reminds us we can always find our way back

from every little death we die along life’s journey.

Rebirth is your name.  Alleluia!

 

Ever Surprising God,

we thank you for Easter surprises like this morning’s gentle rain, which reminds us to remain open to the unexpected, the shift of tide, the change of course we didn’t see coming.

Invitation is your name.  Alleluia!

 

Ever Tantalizing God,

we thank you for the irresistible grace of the living Christ,

which reminds us that there is no sin so heinous, no loss so deep, no disappointment so debilitating, that grace cannot heal us, forgive us, lift us up to meet the strength of God.

Hope is your name.  Alleluia.

(Thanks to Pr. Elizabeth)

Resurrection Celebration – such Joy:  the trumpet and music, the children and candy and Egg Hunt in the rain, the families and Eucharist and Energy Field!  Thanks to all who assisted with Easter Preparations and our tasty Easter Brunch and the gorgeous flowers and Resurrection Stone around our altar.

Lovely April Concerts at Peace:

  • The Jazz Church West presents “Flash Mob” by Anton Schwartz this Sunday, April 12 at 5:00 pm.   A Downbeat Magazine’s Top 10 CDs for 2014.  This is an exciting Highlight of our 10thAnniversary Season.   Invite friends to join you for this remarkable occasion – even if you don’t like Jazz, this Sunday you’ll fall in love!
  • “Spring Delight” with the Coelis Ensemble on Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 pm.  A luscious, classical welcoming of the abundance of springtime life.  What gifts are in store for us (“Spring Delight’ will benefit our UN 70th Anniversary Concert on June 27 at Grace Cathedral.)

You are invited to Tea at The English Rose in downtown Pleasanton on Saturday, April 25 at 11 am.  Join friends from Peace for this occasion.  Flyers are in the Gathering Hall.

Save the Dates:

  • A Peace Dinner will be held on Saturday, May 2 at 5:00 pm.
  • The film “Race to Nowhere” will be shown on Monday, May 11 at 7:00 pm.  Our thanks to Chris Pancoast and our Education Committee for coordinating this event.

‘The Wild Places’ by Thomas Merton

Humans are creatures of ambiguity.  Our salvation and sanity depend on our ability to harmonize the deep conflicts in our thoughts, emotions and personal mythology.  Honesty and authenticity do not depend on complete freedom from contractions – such freedom is impossible – but on recognizing our self-contradictions and not masking them with bad faith.

The conflicts in individuals are not entirely of their own making.  On the contrary, many of them are imposed, readymade, by an ambivalent culture.  This poses a very special problem, because he/she who accepts the ambiguities of our culture without protest and without criticism is rewarded with a sense of security and moral justification.  A certain kind of unanimity satisfies our emotions, and easily substitutes for truth.  We are content to think like the others, and in order to protect our common psychic security, we readily become blind to the contradictions – or even the lies – that we have all decided to accept as “plain truth”.

Easter blessings,  Pr. Steve