Pastor’s Weekly Message: 03.22.17

Grace Waves

Friends:
“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” –  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel  (This quote conveys the Spirit of last Sunday’s Confirmation Class through the interplay of Body Wisdom with Cynthia Winton-Henry)
Healing Prayer Service and Forum this Sunday – Come to receive prayer for yourselves or loved ones who are ill, stressed, recovering from surgery, longing for wholeness or suffering due to these troubled times.  The Healing River of Grace will renew us.
We bid Farewell to Pr. Elizabeth Felts this Sunday.  Please come to share your gratitude with her for her gifts of teaching, preaching, healing and spirit.  Abigail gets to be with us too!
Earth Songs” – the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band performs this Sunday at 4 pm!!  Spread the word with all your friends about this Dynamic Concert.  It includes a celebration of the Photography of Ansel Adams.  Experience the Joy of this energizing music.  If you can assist with the Reception please let Gary or I know.
Drumming for Family Service on April 2.  Bruce Silverman will lead our worship that day.  Pure joy and celebration as we restore our connection with ancient worship roots. There will be a Rehearsal for those who would like to learn some of the basics on Saturday, April 1 at 11 am.  Don’t think you have rhythm….check your pulse and get back to me!  Bruce is an excellent teacher!

Passover Seder, Thursday April 13 at 6:30 pm.  This ancient sacred Jewish Meal commemorates the Exodus from Egypt – the movement from slavery to freedom.  It is the first recorded Liberation Story in history.  And it is the Meal at which Jesus initiates Communion – the meal of mercy and justice.  Diana Howard is coordinating this Holy Week event and she asks for your assistance.  Sign ups will begin this Sunday and you may invite friends from beyond the Peace Community.  You will be transformed by this evening of stories, songs, solemnity and hilarity.
Ending Hunger/Bread for the World: Right now, the world is facing its greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945. We are staring down the outbreak of famine and near-famine conditions that is unprecedented in modern world history. Twenty million people are at risk of starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen in the next six months, if nothing is done.  The proposed new budget would slash lifesaving programs that serve poor and hungry people, including dramatic and disproportionate cuts to vital U.S. foreign assistance. Slashing these programs — which make up just 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget, or one penny on the dollar — wouldn’t balance the budget or pay for significant new domestic spending. But it will come at the cost of human lives lost to hunger and malnutrition.
Forum on Sanctuary:  Our church council and justice advocacy group both recently discussed the idea of Peace as a Sanctuary church and both groups agreed that we should explore becoming part of the Sanctuary movement.  As part of this on-going exploration Ron Elsdon and I will facilitate our April 9 Forum on this subject.  All are welcome and are encouraged to come.
SAP (Serenity at Peace) RISING:  Yes, I am having fun with this title – how many of you are Saps?  The life blood of trees, yes…and within this word the hint of an ancient Latin root word….to become Sapiential = Wise.  Enjoy absorbing this Lenten Sapiential Reflection on The Reign of God:
     It helps now and then to step back and take the long view.  The Reign of God is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision.
     We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.  Nothing we do is complete, which another way of saying that the Reign always lies beyond us.  No statement says all that could be said.  No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.  No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
     This is what we are about:  We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development.  We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
     We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
     We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.  We are workers, not master builders – ministers, not messiahs.  We are prophets of a future not our own.  Amen
     (Archbishop Romero of El Salvador, assassinated March 24, 1980)
Our Lenten Taize Wednesday evening services at 7:00 pm continue at San Damiano Retreat Center throughout March and on April 5.
The Gospel of Consumption – the Negation of your Lenten Practice.
“You want it.  You want it bad. Sometimes so much it hurts.  You can taste it. You feel like you would do anything to get it.  Go further than they’d suspect.  Twist your soul and crush what’s in your way. Then you get it. And something happens.  You become the object of your desire.  And it feels incredible.”  (advertisement for perfume in Macy’s window.)
Sapiential Lent,
Pr. Steve