Good News, 11.16.2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

            THANKSGIVING is coming!  My little refrigerator magnet shows a turkey holding a sign saying “Eat Ham”!  I smile and look forward to the celebration but I am also sad that, in this country overflowing with abundance, few take time to thank God for so many blessings.  How blessed most of us are!

            Dr. Paul Harms (Pastor Steve’s dad!), one of my professors in seminary, said, “Learning to give and give thanks is at the heart of Christian living.”  I’ve pondered that statement throughout the years… wondering if gratitude is always central to my life.  Do I really take time, often, to count my blessings and then joyfully give thanks to the Giver? Am I really a giving person?

            Brother David Stendl-Rast writes in Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, that “The Ibo in Nigeria have a proverb.  It says, ‘It is the heart that gives; the fingers just let go.’ Giving is something only the heart can do.  And this is true not only of gift-giving, but of all forms of giving.  There are three preeminent forms: giving up, thanksgiving, and forgiving.  The heart knows that all belongs to all.  And so, when we live from the heart, we are free…”  We are free to give thanks by giving to others out of the abundance that we have been given.

            In the midst of the coming celebrations…. between the pumpkins and the turkeys, the cards and the Christmas trees, I hope we will keep God in the center, remembering the greatest gift of all – the gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Certainly the Eucharist, “The Great Thanksgiving,” is a remembering and a celebrating of the power of Christ in our own lives today.  It is a celebration that Love lives among us here and now!

How can we help perpetuate Christ’s love in the world?  We do this by using our “Blessings” of Time, Talent and Money and committing them in support of the ministries of our church, Peace Lutheran.  I hope you will prayerfully consider letting your Blessings become a Blessing to Peace by maintaining or, preferably increasing, your pledge commitment.

            A prayer: 
Gracious God, help us to remember that it is God who gives “Every good and perfect gift.”  Help us to live with Christ in our hearts.  Help us to live lives of gratitude and thanksgiving for all the blessings given to us.  Amen.

                                    God’s Blessings,

                                                Pastor Mary Ann

 Everyone  is invited to the Interfaith Thanksgiving  service  at Beth Chaim on Wednesday Nov. 21  at 7 pm  where Peace Lutheran will give thanks for Partnership, and lead everyone in a South African song, Marching in the Light of God.  Non-perishable  food will be collected there for the Contra Costa Food Bank. If you won’t be attending the Interfaith service, you can bring  your food donation to church on Sunday. This food will be taken to Beth Chaim Wednesday evening. Following the Thanksgiving service, there will be a vegetarian reception.  We are invited to bring a dish for the reception as well.  This is a wonderful prelude to Thanksgiving as we join with other faith groups in the San Ramon Valley to give thanks.

 The Youth Group will  be attending the Interfaith Thanksgiving service on Wed.  at Beth Chaim as a group.  The play featuring the Youth Group has been rescheduled for Nov. 25.

Honey from the Monastery has arrived! It will be available for sale in the Gathering Hall and at the Interfaith Service at Beth Chaim.  Same prices as last year!

Jazz last Sunday was especially nice.  Glen Pearson plays a mellow jazz and his group was a joy to hear!  Be sure to save the date for the next Jazz at Peace on December 23. It will be a Holiday Special:  Taylor Eigsti (who grew up in the Bay Area but now lives in New York) will play piano with his friend Greg Johnson playing bass.
Bring your family and out-of-town guests for a great evening of music and inspiration (Pr Steve will be back to read poetry).

Jazz at Peace will move to  the 1st Sunday of the month starting in January.  We’re hoping our regulars will come one week earlier each month!

Plan to stay for Adult Education this Sunday.  Deacon Cindy Townsend will lead a program focusing on Justice Advocacy combining reports on the Just Faith retreat (Sept. 29), the Witness Our Welcome (WOW) service (Oct. 28),  Nursing Home Ministries, and the Earth Faith Food initiatives.  Upcoming projects to be discussed include the Welcome Back Event for Pastor Steve  and the 2013 Delegation to Laurel Galan, Nicaragua.

Thanks to all the families who have signed up for Hospitality this fall.  A new sign-up sheet will be in the Gathering Hall for the Advent and Christmas season.

You are invited to join Charlene and others for hymns and prayer at Danville Rehab at 11 am. this Sunday!  This group is well received by those convalescing here on Diablo Road.

Pray also for those who are suffering–in New York and New Jersey without lights and heat–and around the world, in war-ravaged areas, and other natural disasters.  Life is hard for so many families.

We’ve received a flier from the Livermore Valley Opera, which is producing a Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, on Dec. 8, 2012 at 2 pm and 5 pm.  Details are available at  www.livermorevalleyopera.com.

November/December Calendar

  •   Nov 18–Consecration/Stewardship Sunday Service; Justice Advocacy during Adult Education; outreach to Danville Rehab at 11 am
  •   Nov 21–Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Beth Chaim at 7 pm 
  •   Nov 22–Thanksgiving Day (no service)
  •   Nov 25–Christ the King Sunday Service; drama by Youth Group
  •   Dec  2–First Sunday of Advent; Pr Steve returns
  •   Dec  9–Second Sunday of Advent
  •   Dec 16–Third Sunday of Advent
  •   Dec 23–Fourth Sunday of Advent; Jazz @ Peace at 5 pm special holiday show:Taylor Eigsti on piano with Gary Johnson on bass
  •   Dec 24–Children and Family worship at 5 pm; Candlelight and Communion at 10 pm
  •   Dec 25–Christmas Day worship at 9:30 am
  •   Dec 30–First Sunday after Christmas

Peace to all!