Pastor’s Weekly Message: 08.25.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

Primal freedom is the willingness to face and embrace the responsibility for our lives and encourage the wellbeing of others.  Without this freedom we suffer intently when we don’t get what we want.  But when through a life of prayer, the nourishing of spirit and spiritual practice, when we are in touch with that vitalizing core of compassion then even when life hurts, when we are demeaned, diminished, dismissed, and even when our reputation is smeared we can still be joyful.  Because our lives are not dependent upon the outcomes of our success or failures. —Rev. Steve Harms

This Sunday we celebrate with ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ liturgy.  It utilizes a variety of texts from John Steinbeck’s superb novel.  Our thanks to Don Britt for bringing this liturgy to us.  When The Grapes of Wrath appeared in 1939 it electrified an America still recovering from the Great Depression.  It dramatized not only the forced migration of the “Oakies” whose fields and farms were foreclosed upon but it exposed the plight of the dispossessed everywhere.  One Quarter of Earth’s Humanity is displaced today by war, drought, political oppression and ethnic conflict.  Scripture reminds us that we are all ‘migrants in search of our true home’ and requires us to welcome strangers as guests for “in so doing some have entertained angels.”  Join us for communion with wisdom, grace and truth this Sunday.

This Saturday night at 7:00pm we will have a Peace Camp Out around the Labyrinth.  Good snacks, good stories (maybe a movie) and a good night’s rest under the stars.  In the morning – pancakes for breakfast!  What more could you want?  The Camp Out opportunity will come your way several times during this next year.

Our Confirmation Program will begin on September 18.  We already have 6 -8 kids.  More are invited.  Parents and/or grandparents get to be a part of the year’s program. Contact me for details.  Homecoming Sunday will be that same morning.

Please keep in your prayers:  Maverick who was baptized last Sunday, Ali Shabaniani (our janitor of many years) who died 2 weeks ago, Joan Strawn who is now in hospice care, Lois’ son Brian, Linda Benatar recovering from a broken ankle, Rhonda recovering from a broken wrist, Linda Britt, my family as we mourn the death of my father.

My gratitude to all of you for cards and condolences on the death of my father Paul Harms.  His Memorial Service will be on Saturday, September 3 at 2 pm at Trinity Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

A new Tai Chi Class series will begin on Thursday, September 8 at 7:00 pm at Peace.

Meditation in the sanctuary will resume from 6 – 6:45 pm on Thursdays as well.  This includes walking meditation too.

Peace – cool for the body, mind and community!

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 08.04.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

The ignorant say to themselves,
‘All things are accidental; there is no justice on earth, and after death there is nothing.’

They think that they know; their minds
move on the surface of things.

They don’t perceive the deep patterns
or understand who they are.

Thus they slip into selfishness
or slide down into despair.

Let your light shine into them, Lord; let your wisdom transform their lives.
Let them realize where they come from; let their minds become spacious and clear.
Let compassion flow from their hearts, into the slightest of their actions.
Let them care for the weak and the wretched and share their wealth with the poor.
Then I will burst out in thanksgiving and rejoice in the power of your love!  —Psalm 53

What joy to celebrate Nils Johan’s Baptism last Sunday with this parents Justine and Moritz!  Their families traveled from New Jersey, Chicago, Hanover and Cologne Germany to celebrate Nils’ Baptism with us and share a Family Reunion in the Bay Area.  The family was grateful for the openness of Peace in hosting them and some mentioned they appreciated our joyful liturgy which is a bit rare back home.  May Nils grow strong, loving and wise in the grace of his Baptism!

Happy Birthday to Gun!  Thanks to those who made it a special celebration this past Sunday.

The Peace Camp Out is happening on Saturday, August 27.  Save the date!  We’ll be camping at Peace and perhaps include a movie night as well.

By the reading of Psalms I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me.  The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green, light is sharper on the outlines of the forest and the hills and the whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music in the earth under my feet.  —Merton

Congratulations to Dr. April (Miletich) Rasmussen on receiving her Ph.d. in the Classics1  We are proud of you, April!

“Beyond Measure”, Sunday, September 11, 5:00 pm at Peace.  This is the follow up film to “Race to Nowhere” that examines solutions to the crisis our educational demands are placing on our students here in the San Ramon Valley.  Our Education Committee and Chris Pancoast are hosting this film and our Peace Council is sponsoring it.  The cost is $10/person. We are organizing to get an audience of 100 people.  We hope the director Vicki Abeles will be present.  Please invite friends to join you.

Church Advocacy for the Poor:  In a July 15 letter addressed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, joined more than 90 national Christian leaders with the Circle of Protection asking to meet with the candidates to discuss “plans for offering help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.” “We are leaders of Christian communions, organizations and schools who care deeply about hunger and poverty, and we are praying for a president who shares that concern,” the letter reads.

100 Questions – Pablo Neruda

Is it true that the vests are preparing to revolt?
Who sings in the deepest water in the abandoned lagoon?
Why do all silkworms live so raggedly?
Why is it so hard, the sweetness
of the heart of the cherry?
Why did cheese decide to perform heroic deeds in France?
Why don’t the poor understand as soon as they stop being poor?
Where does the rainbow end
in your soul or on the horizon?

Summer blessings,

Pr. Steve