Good News, 06.04.09

Dear Friends,

In the story of the Prodigal Son the Father wastes as much love on the son as the son does on his inheritance.  “Come home!”  The ultimate theme is not the wastefulness of human beings but the faithfulness of God.

If you were unable to join us last Sunday for our Pentecost Celebration, please take a few minutes to enjoy our Pentecost Photo Album.
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Congratulations to our Confirmands: Kristina Whitney, Erik Norton, Taylor Eubanks, Cameron Eubanks, Ethan Hepner, Allison Winter, Aubree Miletich and Landon Shepanek.  Well done!  It has been a blessed year with you, your families, mentors, Christy and Bob Winter as teachers and Pr. Margareta.  Joy, wisdom and continued grace always!

The VBS Team will meet this Sunday after worship during Hospitality Hour.  If you have not filled out the VBS Insert yet please do so this Sunday.  April Miletich needs your assistance for VBS which is happening June 15 – 19.  The Confirmands have agreed to help!

Annie Haines invites you to her Garage Sale on Saturday, June 13 from 8 – 4.  Treasured items are being “released”.  2825 Stratford Dr., San Ramon.  820-5409 if you need directions.

E-Waste Recycle: On Saturday, June 27 from 9 – 4.  Peace will assist with a free Recycling Day for Computer monitors, TVs, Cell Phones, Lap Tops, Flat Screens and Ink Jet cartridges.  (There is a $5 fee for DVD players, printers, fax machines and CPUs.  This is a Fund-raising Event for Peace. Please promote this with your friends and neighbors and co-workers through our flyers or electronic communication!  We will need 8 people to help during the day (2 teams of 4, no heavy lifting.)  Let Raddi or Pr. Steve know if you can help.

Adult Confirmation for College Students: During July and August this summer we’ll have an ongoing series for college students who want to further explore their faith.  This is a great time face real faith questions with new and old friends.  Details to come.

Jarva Roster CDs: Do you want to purchase a copy of Words of Realness or Freedom for the Prisoners (performed at Peace 3 years ago)?  They are available after worship for $15 a piece.  Also 7 copies of Is it Safe?:  Essays by Students in the San Quentin College Program are available for free after worship this Sunday. These copies were given to Stefan Safsten after the Concert at San Quentin Prison.

Here is a lengthier and wonderful article by our own Gun Johnston.  Enjoy!

Järva  Röster`s Visit to Peace Lutheran Church, Danville

On Sunday, May 24 th, 2009 we welcomed the Swedish Choir, Järva Röster  for the second time. Three years have passed since they surprised us with their outstanding voices under the leadership of Stefan Säfsten. His choir comes from Kista, a suburb of Stockhlom,  filled with immigrants from many countries. Their church is adorned with stained glass and inviting  decor, much needed to get the Swedes to go to church.

Stefan has worked with Spoon Jackson, a prisoner for life at Folsom Prison, California, for many years.
Spoon writes the lyrics and Stefan composes the music to this concert named “Words of Realness”, a suite for choir, soloist and orchestra about Faith, Hope and Charity. Several years ago Stefan made their connection and received thoughts on paper from this prisoner, read them and  put them aside.  Upon  picking them up, years later, he could not stop composing  music to Spoon´s powerful words.

Before Sunday service we decorated our Fellowship Hall,  Swedish style, to welcome the choir. My friend Margit and I wore our national costumes, and our Swedish Pastor Margareta had the coffee ready before rehearsal.

All through our service and a baptism the choir sang so beautifully, my heart swelled with pride and JOY, which was  the message of the day, presented by Pastor Steve in his uplifting sermon. I could even sing along when our most treasured summer hymn was sung. Only a Swede can understand how much summer means after a long, dark winter.

We rejoiced with the Collin’s family as their little granddaughter Lucy was baptized as well.  A lullaby was composed and played for the sleeping baby.

Penny Sanders had baked chocolate chip cookies for the crowd. It was fun watching one of the little boys pile them up on his plate and swiftly disappear to a safe place to devour his favorite treat. There was watermelon, honeydews and grapes as well, a feast of all the fruit California has to offer, and  savoured while the choir members mixed with the congregation.

Time for lunch with four different hosts at their respective homes. Guests not allergic to cats came with me along with my special friend Urban, so, so tall. He and his wife came to my house last time they visited Danville. Our soloist-primadonna Rebecca and her husband Nils piled in as well in my  “Gunsan”- Nissan,  cozy and tight.

The fog did not clear, so we had to turn on the heat in my chilly house. My cat opens the door, but forgets to close it! Charlene brought another load, so we were 13 for Indian lunch of curried chicken on Naan bread with Minnesota wild rice, homemade mango chutney and many condiments to top it all off. Yes, it was festive when we took turns around the table to listen to everyone´s history,  both private, workwise and of coarse, involvement with Stefan´s choir.  Many had twenty years or more of singing with Jarva . Pastor Steve rang the door bell and  surprised us for a quick bite and fellowship.

I have to add that these Swedes are so open and charming that you feel like they were old friends. We certainly hope to see them again, here or in the “old country”.

The sun came out, at last, so we feasted on juicy cherries and strawberries dipped in the chocolate sauce I had made early morning before church.

Zhiting, our Chinese exchange student, was among us and played her flute out by the pool, transporting us to paradise, only to be bring us back by the clock and a return to church for warm-ups prior to the concert at 4:30.

Our church filled up, and the sun flooded the sanctuary through the colorful stained glass windows. Stefan had hired local musicians to play the violin, cello, piano and clarinet, while he directed the choir. In our programs we found,  and could follow along, the words composed by Spoon Jackson. Every piece was exquisite and so meaningful . Rebecca´s voice went over dramatically while other numbers were read by her husband Nils. That very couple live on the same street as my best friends in Sweden!

Our hands were warm and red  after the ending  Da Capo, and a standing ovation to top it off!  The classy performance,  where all members knew the lyrics by heart, will be remembered as a special gift from Stefan and Spoon. The choir performed at both New Folsom and San Quentin Prisons. That is Swedish-American history in modern times.

After seemingly endless embraces and praises, it´s again time for food, this time arranged by Pastor Margareta, who was so instrumental in getting the choir to come to Peace Lutheran Church.

A glass of wine was extra welcome after a long day of diligent work, not to mention the cold cuts and potato salad before the busride back to San Francisco.

After taking Zhiting back to Orinda, I only looked at the dishes, to be done the next morning. I simply  laid down  thinking back on this extraordinary day we had been blessed to enjoy with friends , countrymen and women.

I will  sum up the day with Spoon Jackson´s words:

“MOMENT TO MOMENT”

We cannot capture time
It is not contained  in an hour glass
Nor the palms of someone´s
hands.
We cannot capture a sweet rainy
day
nor a glorious sunset
and the sweet sprinkles of a rainy
day
Moment to moment is all we
have.
When will we start forgiving
ourselves and others
and live and love ourselves
and others?
Moment to moment is all we
have.
When will we stop blaming
ourselves and others
and let others
in this moment, every moment
enjoy each moment.
Take this moment to forgive
yourself, your friend, your enemy
your mom, dad, sister, brother,
partner or lover.
Take this moment to share a smile
With people you don´t know
For moment to moment-this moment is all  we have.”

Spoon Jackson

Blessings, Pr. Steve