Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.14.14

Grace Waves

Happy Valentine’s Day!

There are times when it seems that so much has been written about love that there is no more to be said about it. And worse, sometimes it seems that so much that has been written about love is pure drivel—unattained and unattainable. Or volumes are written about sexual manipulation without a word about the fact that good sex, holy sex, requires a good relationship. Or, pure theory of a theological kind talks about “loving” God when I have yet to understand human love, let alone the divine.

Love is something learned only by the long, hard labor of life. It is sometimes over before we’ve even known we had it. We sometimes destroy it before we appreciate it. We often have it and simply take it for granted.

But sometimes, if we’re lucky, we live long enough to grow into it in such a way that because of it we come to recognize the value of life. As the years go by, we come to love flowers and cats and small infants and old ladies and the one person in life who knows how hot we like our coffee. We learn enough about love to allow things to slip away and ourselves to melt into the God whose love made all of it possible. Sometimes we even find a love deep enough to detach us from the foam and frills of life, all of which hold us captive to things that cannot satisfy. Sometimes we live long enough to see the face of God in another. Then, in that case, we have loved.

The poets and storytellers across time have told us about the dimensions of love that last. The poet Rumi wrote:

From myself I am copper,
through You, friend, I am gold.
From myself I’m a stone, but
through You I am a gem.  (Joan Chittister)

How wonderful to celebrate Andrew and Ryan’s Baptisms this past Sunday!  And a blessing to share Natalie’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer Letter to the newly baptized.

Chaplain Hans Hoch, Brock’s Supervisor at the Prison, will join us for worship this Sunday.  Look forward to meeting him.

The “Brockometer” keeps increasing.  $1,000 has been raised toward our $5,000 Matching Fund.  Thanks to all of you who can contribute!

Your support of the Veil Tapestry Project is appreciated too.  We have raised $265 of the $400 needed toward the unique Art/Faith Project that Bill Carmel has envisioned.  To learn more about this speak with Bill or members of the Council.

The Crab Feed is happening on Saturday, March 1 at 5:00 pm.  Chuck Fisher is coordinating the event,  Mike Valenta is running the kitchen, a wonderful team of volunteers has assembled and The Generosity Pilot Project is underwriting a portion of the evening.  The only thing left:  INVITE ALL THE FRIENDS YOU CAN!  Now it is up to the rest of us to encourage all our friends to share this tasty and delightful evening with us.

Our Gospel texts during the Epiphany Season are coming from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapters 5 – 7.   Read it several times during February, ponder these profound truths.  It will deepen your prayer and worship life as well as shift your experiences in daily life.

Forum Series on “Racism – Many Rivers” continues the next two Sundays:  This Sunday Seminarian Brock Klobe ‘The Realities of Racism in Prison Life’.  (Please read The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander to learn the true dynamics of incarceration in our society today.)  On February 23 Ron Elsdon will address the  “Economic Implications of Racism”.

March 1 Forum – Dr. Jan Johansson:  The Human Heart and Health….an Update.  Always a marvelous presentation and conversation.

You will be able to sign up for Escrip (as another means for supporting Peace) at worship this Sunday during the Hospitality Hour.

Please keep in your prayers:  Bob Mantei recovering from hip surgery, Veronique, Ari, those searching for homes, the newly baptized, Jerry, those ill with the flu, Lance, Hyunjung Choi and family recovering from a car accident, the victims of discrimination, our children, the people of Syria, and those who pray for us.

The Jazz Community also loved John Barry’s “Bainting” when his Exhibit Opened this past Sunday at the Jazz Church West.  Composer Marcus Shelby gave John a fine tribute during the course of the evening too – a special touch.   Lynne Goodman prepared a fine reception with assistance from others and all got to enjoy the delicious Noci Bella Chocolate!

Yes, it is true that Nette is from the Happiest Country on the Earth.  You will have to ask her why!

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve