“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Gandhi
Once upon a time I took in Mystery as a sensation best left unexamined. Now I experience it as welcomed. I’m strangely comforted when I hear from scientists that human beings are the most complex creatures we know of in the universe – by far! Black holes are in their way explainable; the simplest living human being is not. I lean a bit more confidently into the experience that life is so endlessly perplexing. I love that word. Spiritual life is a way of Dwelling with Perplexity–taking it seriously, searching for its purpose and perils, its beauty and ravages. Spiritual life is dwelling with perplexity.
“Tov” is the Hebrew word usually translated as ‘good’ but it’s core meaning is actually ‘life generating’. Enjoy this definition when you read the Creation Story or pray/meditate on the Creation Mantra you received Sunday. This translation invigorates everything! The purpose and joy of our evolving Creation (like the daily choices we face) is that everything we engage becomes life generating!
Earth Day – “I used to think the top environmental problems were Biodiversity Loss, Ecosystem Collapse and Climate Change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are Selfishness, Greed and Apathy. To deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation – and we scientist don’t know how to do that.” Gus Speth
(As I said on Sunday, we in spiritual communities do know how to do this, not because we have solutions but because we know how to begin again, how to turn and return, how to respectfully nurture consciousness. Isn’t it exciting to build this creative partnership with the scientific community now!)
Bill Carmel wrote an article on ‘Matisse into Diebenkorn for our local paper about a current exhibit at the SF MOMA. Over 300 views already. Check it out at: https://www.danvillesanramon.com/blogs/p/2017/04/18/matisse-into-diebenkorn. Way to go, Bill!
Two Forums – Peace as a Sanctuary Church: This Sunday we will attune our Listening Skills to hear each other’s stories and learn the formative elements that have shaped our values. On May 7 Laura Magnani of AFSC will join us to expand our understanding of Quaker historical commitments to justice (Underground Railroad, women’s suffrage, Japanese internment) and how the Sanctuary Movement is contributing to that history.
Healthcare Community Meeting: Saturday, May 20th, 10:30a – 12:00p Join concerned citizens and allied organizations for an educational forum — Health care is a human right in all industrial countries except the United States. Come watch the 35 minute documentary Now Is The Time and learn how the United States can join the rest of the world and provide its residents with universal health care. California is currently taking steps to go beyond Obamacare and guarantee affordable health care to all for life. Learn how you can be a part of this movement. Question and answer period will follow screening. Event facilitated by Gerri Field, Health Care Activist, CaPA (California Physicians Alliance) Board of Directors.
The Four Seasons and More Concert performed by the Sycamore Strings Academy was superb. How luscious to hear such uplifting music wafting and reverberating through our sanctuary. The 15 young artists playing violins, violas, cellos and bass are incredibly gifted. Our gratitude to Director (and Peace Friend) Goran Berg for eliciting their best in music and spirit. (It was tov!)
Mother’s Day Tea at Thyme for Tea on Saturday, May 13. Reserve your setting with Diane or Pat.
Our Confirmands met last Sunday. We shared reflections on Holy Week: Seder, Good Friday and the Resurrecting Love of Easter (Mark 14 – 16:8); we examined the ‘spiritual teachings/environment’ of our Sanctuary; walked the Labyrinth; studied the Peace Mosaic, spoke about the dynamics that prompted the horror of the holocaust; and enjoyed earth day moments. Keep Gracie, Jack, Reese, Nik, Julia, Mark, Kyle, Luke, Julia and Alex in your prayers. Their Confirmation Celebration will be on Pentecost, June 4.
Defusing Hatred Program – Keep Calm and Defuse the Tension: Learn nonviolent communication skills in a safe environment and develop tools for responding to uneasy situations and hate speech.. Enjoy and informative, visual presentation followed by conversation and hands on experience through role-play. We host this program to build communities of care who will protect the vulnerable and targeted around us.
Sunday, April 30 at 7 pm at St. Joan of Arc in San Ramon. Co-lead by Rev. Will McGarvey and myself.
Wednesday May 10 at 7 pm at Peace with a variety of Community Advocacy Groups. Same leaders.
KCOV/Korean Church of the Valley: This Sunday Pastors Daniel and Connie Chung will retire and KCOV will officially close their congregation. Members of KCOV will disperse to join other congregations. Of course they are being invited to join Peace as well. We offer our gratitude for their years of ministry among us and in the San Ramon Valley.
The choral group Chromatica (who was given birth at Peace) will perform this Sunday at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $20/person. A beautiful evening awaits you.
The Interfaith Yom HaShoah Remembrance Service at Beth Chaim was very powerful. The prayer below is offered in honor of the 6 million Jews who were murdered, along with the 1 million disabled people, the 1 million gay people, the 1 million intellectuals, artists and political dissidents, and 2 million Eastern Europeans who were murdered. May we have the courage to oppose bigotry and protect all who are scapegoated in our time.
The Redemption of Saving Grace
O Lord, remember not only the men and women
of good will, but also those of ill will.
But do not remember all the suffering they inflicted
Remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to
This suffering — our comradeship,
Our loyalty, our humility, our courage,
Our generosity, the greatness of heart
Which has grown out of all this, and when
They come to judgment let all the fruits
Which we have borne be their forgiveness.
(Prayer found by the body of a dead child at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp)
Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. —Pope Francis
Mud paste daubed on a blind man’s eyes…
“I have come into this world for this reason—to provide Clear Discernment; so that the blind may see (and see what’s really happening) and those who claim to see—may become blind.” Jesus (John 9)
From Pr. Elizabeth – Dear Friends of Peace:
The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes….”
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. —Gandhi
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. —Gandhi
Amazon Smile: Amazon is celebrating its #1 ranking in customer satisfaction by the ACSI! Today, March 16, Amazon will donate 5% (10 times the usual donation rate) of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Peace Lutheran Church. Get started at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-1664977
Speak only if it improves upon the silence. —Gandhi
Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest being presented to our senses. Your neighbor is indeed holy in the most holy way since within him and her Christ truly lives. —CS Lewis
Earth Songs: The SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band performs a Musical and Cinematic tribute to the Photography of Ansel Adams at Peace on Sunday, March 26 at 4 pm. This splendid gift is coming to us through the efforts and love of Gary Sponholtz. The 70 member Band will dazzle you! Please encourage lots of your friends to join you in this joyful event. If you want to assist Gary in coordinating the day, please speak with him.
Bishop’s Chrism Mass: Bishop Mark Holmrud celebrated this mass with local clergy on Thursday of this week. It is a time for renewal of ordination vows and preparation for Holy Week. The bishop extends his gratitude to all of you for the hospitality provided and for the “expansive ministries” of Peace. He with everyone gathered for worship was deeply moved by the music of Elizabeth Hunter Ashley and Gary Sponholtz (he asked them to ‘go on the road’ with him), he (and many others) was appreciative of the immersion in art he experienced at Peace, he walked the grounds and found them beautiful and peaceful; he expressed gratitude for the justice and cultural ministries of Peace. Finally he also made a mean batch of chili – which he learned from his mother, for the evening meal .
Enjoy the New Art Exhibit by Todd Brooks this Sunday. Thanks to Bill Carmel for curating the show.
Additional Prayer for Immigrants arrested by ICE who are incarcerated in private prisons where they are forced to work 40 per week for $1/day. They are placed in solitary confinement if they don’t participate. Lord, have mercy….how we abuse the most vulnerable.
Prayer is like the slow drizzle of winter rains….seemingly monotonous….yes…and where do we think the blossoms come from?