Pastor’s Blog / Grace Waves 03.25.20

Friends – Here is the Christ Icon I promised.  It resides at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai and is the oldest Christian Icon at 1500 years old.  Gaze on this image and allow it to speak quietly to you.

“How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!

She who was once great among the nations has become destitute.

  She weeps bitterly in the night, tears streaming down, with no one to comfort her.

  She finds no resting place.

The roads to Mt.Zion mourn for no one comes to the festivals!

  All her gates are desolate and her priests mourn;

  The young people grieve and find life bitter.”

From the Book of Lamentations composed at the time of the Babylonion Exile, 587BCE)

Worship last Sunday, March 22 — Shelter in Peace

Altar sitting like a mountain whispered wisdom

Candles longed for the children’s light

Processional Cross mute but not silent

Fence crying in anguish for all who found themselves behind the fence

Gong bellowing “Alertness!’

After nearly 3 billion years on planet Earth our Vishnu Schist…. just sat there.

The Kairos Tree of Life kept blossoming

Chalice spilled overflowing compassion

Light Globe illuminated the truth we are all refugees

Art exhibit probed “Do you really see what’s happening?”

Incense billowed healing prayers.

Piano and organ searched for our voices and hearts

Sanctuary longed for its friends………you were missed and present.

Shopping cart beeped – Declutter.

Saints and mystics hovered in cosmic communion

Singing Bowl sang of sweet peace.

   And neighbors strolled our courtyard Spring Garden.

Texts for Sunday, March 29 — Fifth Sunday of Lent

Ezekiel 37: 1 -14  The Dry Bones– you’ve got to read this!

Psalm 130 — “Out of the Depths have I cried to you O Lord”  (See if you can find Mahalia Jackson singing this)

Romans 8: 6 – 11

Gospel  John 11: 1 – 45   The Raising of Lazarus from the Dead

Instructions for tuning into Worship at Peace at 10 am on Sunday will be sent to you on Friday.

Abba/Imma Qiqong Lord’s Prayer:  Always wanted to learn this?  Now you have the time.  Kaleo, Elise and I offer you this Link: www.kaleoching.com/videos.html

Keep in your prayers:  Betty, Bob, Jose, Howard, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Elders who are at risk, hospital workers, medical researchers, those in authority who are leading with clarity and courage; the vulnerable populations of homeless and impoverished people  including those on the border and in Refugee Camps around the world who will soon be hard hit.

As everywhere else, our Spring recitals have been cancelled. However, Kari has negotiated with about a dozen teachers who have agreed to postpone their events until later in the year. Two events, the Monte Vista Choir two day recital and the Pure Delight concert in May cannot be rescheduled.

March 24 marked the 40 Anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Romero of El Salvador who was killed for speaking out for the campesinos of his country in 1980.  Over the centuries the Church has marked the death days of Martyrs as their Birth days into a Resurrected Life.  I’ll send you a Reflection of his on Friday.

Bonnie Lewis a former member of Peace and an avid seamstress has sent her instructions for handmade Masks to be used during the crisis. (Disturbing that our US government does not have the resources to meet this pandemic.)   Here her website: www.commonsewing.com and when you look on her Blog you’ll find the instructions.  Bonnie, thank you! 

Let me our Members of our Peace Council know if you need assistance with anything on your homefront.

Psalm 23 – the appointed psalm for this week.  Savor this translation.

The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.

God makes me lie down in green pastures…..leads me beside calm waters;

 refreshes my soul.

 God guides me on paths of righteousness,

    so that I may serve life with love.

Though I walk through the darkest valley

  or stand in the shadow of death,

   I am not afraid for I know you are with me.

You spread a full table before me,

  even in times of great pain;

you feast me with your abundance

  and honor me like royalty.

anointing my head with sweet oil and filling my cup to the brim.

Surely goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life;

and I will live in God’s radiance forever an ever.

Praise to the God who is, Praise to the God who was,

Praise to the God who is to come for ages unending.  Amen

Lenten strength, healing and blessings,

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Blog / Grace Waves 03.18.20

Friends:

“For now our lives lie hidden with Christ.” St. Paul

We take Refuge in God who is the Source, Vitality, Creativity and Completion of our lives.  

What a joy to celebrate with the early communion class:  Noah, Skye, Rosemary, and Adam! And celebrate the baptism of Declan Harms!  The kids baked the bread for Sunday’s Eucharist (picture) and sang Children of Our Heavenly Father, and sounded the gong for this memorable occasion!

Our office will be closed until April 7th.  Check your email for updates.  All email messages and phone calls will be read and returned twice per week.  Steve and Kari will be working remotely to keep in touch with all of you!  We will be including recordings or video of past homilies on our website home page.  Check back weekly!

In the Season of Lent we are invited to slow down so we can focus/go faster toward God.  The virus is certainly prompting our DeCluttering Theme this Lent.  We are not only clearing out extras in our lives, we have a chance to clarify what really matters in our daily lives.  Below is a List for a Spiritually, Creative Practices as we Shelter in Place for the rest of this Lenten Season.

Two Notes before the List:

Worship is cancelled for the next 2 Sundays.  Various Resources are included in this Notes of Peace and they  will continue to come to you.  I will “Shelter in Peace” here on Sundays at 10 am, offering prayers for our congregation and for those in need:  Bob, Betty, Fred, Howard, Jose, and for All who are at Risk.

Second– several members of Peace have offered to run errands or do shopping for other members who would appreciate this support.  Please notify me if you need assistance!  The hardest thing is to ask!

My cell is:  925-984-1246.  Please use this number only for emergencies.

List

  • Set aside a time each day (rhythmic repetition helps) to Pray for our Community and/or meditate.  Light a candle.  Simply ‘Be in the Presence of God’.  Of course we are always in God’s Presence but this rhythmic practice allows time for us to become more aware of this truth…..as my homilies have encouraged:  we are moving from reactive to receptive mind.)
  • Read Scriptures:  John 9:  1 – 41 our text for this Sunday; John 11: 1 – 45 our text for March 29.  Read the Psalms…..all of them….you’ve got time.  This is what monks do every week!
  • Call Friends to encourage them and break through any isolation.
  • Know that our friends in Lwamondo Parish, South Africa and Laurel Galan, Nicaragua are praying for us too.  Keep them in your prayers.
  • Keep a Journal – as primitive or expansive as you wish.  What are you noticing about yourself or our times as we pass through this constricted time?  Do other life priorities begin to emerge for you?
  • You can also Paint, doodle, image things on paper with color.  Work with Mary’s suggestions:  gathering stones and/or sticks and writing on them.  Perhaps you’ll want to bring these to church when we can gather again.  What role does beauty play in your life?
  • Rest.  It’s the key to wisdom. 
  • Read The Sabbath Book by Wayne Muller.  Take to heart the variety ways we can rest, reflect and become sane.  Read any good book you’ve been putting off.
  • Write a Letter to your children, nieces and nephews and grandchildren about what you have learned that Really Matters in Life.
  • Storms are coming — sit on the porch and really enjoy them!
  • Many species of animals have become extinct in our life times.  Reflect on what this threat of extinction feels like to you.  And what if nobody cared?
  • Listen to music – a whole symphony or album.
  • Rest.  And remember we do not live by bread alone.

Lenten Blessings, 

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Blog / Grace Waves 3.11.2020

Friends:

“The soul’s center is God.  God is one with all.  Hence, with God as our center, we are one with all.”  ~St. John of the Cross

  • This Sunday we will celebrate the Children of our Early Communion Class who have been learning all the many aspects of our Eucharist and why it is central to our worship.  The kids will be baking our Eucharist Bread!  Grandparents and Godparents will be present.  It will be a joyful celebration.
  • Adding to the joy our grandson Declan Harms will be Baptized this Sunday.  His Godparents Elias and Kelly have arrived from Montana. Bev and I are happy we get to celebrate Declan’s Baptism with all of you!  Expect wonderful worship.
  • Our thanks to Pr. Lucy for her insightful comments and poetry on International Women’s Day!
  • And thanks to Spencer and his family for providing our Hospitality foods.
  • Mary Lacasse invites you this Sunday during Forum to create marker moments in your life with sticks, stones or leaves as you De-clutter your Life!  Beep, beep, beep!
  • Our New Member Dinner is happening on Saturday at 5:00 pm at Peace.  Ken is blessing us with another feast!
  • Our Peace Council meets next Monday evening at 7 pm.
  • Walk the Labyrinth during Lent – another marvelous way to declutter your life!
  • Keep in your prayers:  Jose, Betty, Bob, Heather, those with the corona virus, Kelly on the death of Harry, those who pray for us.
  • Compassionate Storytelling Workshop – Saturday, March 28 from 1:30 – 4:00 pm at Peace.  Come build interfaith bridges of understanding with our friends.
  • Reactive or Receptive Mind this week???
  • RAIN
    • R – Recognize/
    • A – Accept/
    • I – Investigate with Kindness/ 
    • N – Non-identification with the results.

Lenten blessings, 

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Blog/Grace Waves 3.4.20

Friends:

‘Any talk of God that doesn’t comfort people is a lie.”  Teresa of Avila

TIME CHANGE: Spring Forward, Saturday night…. move your clocks ahead one hour and go to bed early! (Photo credit: Linda Elsdon)

Make Space for God:  Our Lenten Theme was memorably initiated with Mary’s Shopping Cart, insights on the value of garbage, De-cluttering and ‘Beep, beep,beep!”  Clearing our log-jammed inner eye is all you need to allow to happen this Lent. The series continues this Sunday.

Upcoming Forums

  • March 8 – Walking the Labyrinth…….making space for grace.
  • March 22 – Evolving Consciousness with Roger Corneliusen
  • March 29 – Healing/Transforming Compassion with Jim Gunshinan

The Early Communion Class will have its culminating Celebration on March 15.  All Godparents and Grandparents are invited!

Midweek Lenten Series:  Join us for the Taize Services at 7 pm at San Damiano.  Our own Gary Sponholtz leads these gatherings of chant, stillness, and scripture; and will  incorporate  local artists in these beautiful prayer services.

Read Bill Carmel’s blog about our current Bill DeMichele Art Exhibit at Peace: The Art of Bill DiMichele: Cross Section of a Moment  There have been nearly 1,000 hits already!

Our next New Member Dinner is on Saturday, March 14 at 4:30 pm.  Ken cooks and it is a wonderful occasion to meet new and old members of Peace.

Today is the last day to order your Water Canisters!  The Disaster Preparedness Committee will figure out pick up and delivery on March 13 and/or 14.

Keep in your prayers:  Heather, Bob, Jose, Betty, Don, the Early Communion Class, the million Uigher Muslims incarcerated in China, the Lakota people of Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations.

The Heart of the Matter Concert raised $3,000 for Al Otro Lado to assist and free the Children detained on our Border!

We now have Venmo and Paypal services available for Sunday giving and all of the public events at Peace. Do you have the app on your phone?

Our Compassionate Storytelling Workshop with Maggid Jim Brule was a profound gift to our interfaith community.  Only when we share and hear the stories of each other can we begin to understand and begin to dissolve the fear of the Other.  The Gospel calls us to lives of reconciliation — we are here to build bridges not walls.

The Jazz Church West brought another stellar evening into existence. Kristen Strom’s Quartet delved into the Border Song for Children, drove us into the depths with the Pat Metheny piece that followed, and enlightened us with ‘Blackbird Singing in the Night.’.   We are grateful to host America’s original art form!

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.  You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”  ~Maya Angelou

Lenten Blessings, Pr. Steve