Pastor’s Weekly Message: 03.17.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

Christ is the peace between us…..who has broken down the barriers which used to keep us apart, by destroying in his own person the hostility between us.  His purpose in restoring our peace was to create a single New Human/Humanity; and through the cross to reconcile all in God in one Body.  (Ephesians 2: 15 – 16)

We are about to enter Holy Week – the passionate mystery in history which transforms broken hearts into compassionate beings.  In this final week of Christ’s life which we celebrate together, nothing can be explained but it can be experienced.  I invite you to participate in as many of these services as you can as we journey to and through the Cross to an unimagined resurrecting which longs to lift up the present and the future.

Our Holy Week Schedule:

  • Palm/Passion Sunday -we begin this Sunday in the Courtyard at 10 am.
  • Maundy Thursday worship is at 7:00 pm on March 24.
  • Good Friday worship will be at 7:30 with a Telling of the Passion Narrative in John’s Gospel.
  • Easter Sunday is March 27 at 10:00 am.  A joyful service with brass and percussion and more! A Potluck Brunch follows with of course our Egg Hunt for the children.

If you are willing to take a dozen plastic eggs home this Sunday, fill them with goodies and return them on Easter morning, that will be appreciated!

Saturday, March 19

  • Peace Men’s Group meets at 8:30 am in the Gathering Hall.
  • Palm Sunday preparations at 10 am.
  • Early Communion Class meets at 4 pm at the Kurtz home.
  • San Ramon Jazz Library Series at Peace hosts vocalist Kenny Washington at 8:00 pm.

Palm Sunday, March 20

  • Worship with Congregational Procession at 10 am
  • “Fables and Fantasy Concert” at 4:00 pm with the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band.  Potluck Reception with the Band follows!! Bring something tasty.
  • Youth Group at the Laurlunds at 6:00 pm.

I was asked by a member of Peace to convey what Christ’s Peace is.  Here are 4 realms/experiences of Peace that we get to share in our community.

  1. The Contemplative “experience” of peace reveals a oneness or intimacy with ‘wholeness’ that is inexpressible and enriching. This peace communicates the deep down truth that everything really is “all right”.
  2. Relational peace refuses to allow the mistakes of others to define who they are for us.  As Gandhi said, “It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends.  But to befriend the one who regards himself as your opponent is the quintessence of true religion.  The first is mere business.”  This is the realm of mercy and forgiveness.
  3. The Justice which creates peace on the societal level is equally difficult and generous.  It requires courage to expose social deceit and unmask exploitation.  The Peacemakers are “blessed” because they endure becoming scapegoats.  Peacemakers are often targeted as the “problem”, ridiculed for not taking sides and punished for not being silent.  Again  Gandhi (who was inspired by the Sermon on the Mount) made clear:  Truth and nonviolence are two sides of the same coin. The fundamental absurdity of our time is believing violence can cure violence.  Peace is gutsy enough to make life possible for the exploited.
  4. Spiritual peace in the Christian tradition honors peace as the Work of Christ whose crucifixion simultaneously means his destruction by death and yet his death is the death of the grip of death.  Reconciliation with life, self, God, others and creation is possible – now!  It leads to wisdom and joy, liberation and caring for others.  All this through a peace which the world cannot comprehend.

These four experiences are of course inextricably interwoven together, we taste these various dimensions at different times.  Peace is dynamic, creative and as the Hebrew word Shalom denotes – the harmony and vitality of persons in community who share the fullness of life together.

Lenten blessings, Pr. Steve