04.24.14: Pastor’s Weekly Message

Grace Waves


Christ is Risen.  Christ is Risen, indeed.  Alleluia!

Do you know that 5 of the 7 continents of the world were represented at Peace on Easter – the  exceptions were Antarctica and Australia.  Amazing!

Sometimes we just need to bask in the joy of it all.  Thanks to all who contributed with music, voice, drums, horn, bread, altar guilding, clergifying, prayer and Easter Brunching!

Our Organic Origin…and Home:  Thoughts for consideration  in advance of our Earth Day Celebration this Sunday:

Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a mid-size galaxy consistent of at least 200 billion stars, and stretching about 100,000 light years in diameter. The galaxies are often grouped into clusters—some having as many as two thousand galaxies.  We are one of billions of galaxies.  After 300,000 years of expansion and cooling, negatively charged electrons were moving slowly enough to get caught by positively charged protons.  Each capture created a new atom of hydrogen.  Once the process started, the universe rapidly made the transition from a mix of free photons and electrons to a vast gas of electronically neutral atomic hydrogen.  As the eons passed, a vast cosmos network of form emerged from these humble beginnings.  Galaxies appeared first.  Then clusters of galaxies were swept together by their mutual gravitational pull……Gravity alone constructed a cosmic architecture that is filamentary and beautiful.  But the universe is also composed of tremendous quantities of something that emits no light.  This is known as dark matter, and it constitutes the majority of mass in the universe.  ‘The visible galaxies we see strewn across space are nothing more than strings of luminous flotsam drifting on an invisible sea of dark matter.’

The continuous expansion of the universe is due to the predominance of a repulsive cosmic force that is associated with dark energy.  Scientist speculate that dark energy comprises about 73 percent of the total mass-energy of the universe and accelerates expansion of the universe.  Dark matter, on the other hand, prevents the universe from collapsing in on itself.  The recent discovery of the Higgs–Boson particle may provide new insight on dark energy and dark matter.  We now know the universe is expanding indefinitely into the future.

Happy News:  Our new Organ Speakers – Paid For!  And Gary is creating a new surround sound music worship environment with them!

Seminarian Internship Program – Paid For!  Our Prison Ministry is getting a solid foundation and generating participation among numerous folks at Peace.  Aren’t we glad Mudzunga spoke to us about the Women’s Prison Ministry in Venda and that Gun and Nancy tuned in!

Keep in your prayers:  Dana Squire and family (Joan’s Memorial Service is May 9 at 11 am), Rich Storelee whose mother’s Memorial Service is this Saturday; Gen Estenson, Greg Grebe, and Annie Haines who are all recovering from surgery.

Additionally, your prayers are requested for our Partners in the Faith in Nicaragua who recently experienced another earthquake:  You have probably also heard about the earthquake in Managua last week. It was very strong, 6.7 on the Richter scale, but thanks be to God/Gracias a Dios the effects were nothing like the 1972 earthquake. There was 1 death (a young woman who suffered a heart attack), and around 1,600 homes have been damaged or destroyed, but the government has been excellent in responding to these needs, partly thru Venezuelan government aid money. We are still on high alert and have had many aftershocks. They say that the National Stadium fault line (the most dangerous one that destroyed the city in 1972) is now activated, as well as the nearby Apoyeque Volcano, so please keep the people of Managua especially in your prayers. They say that we may be on alert for up to a month and a half.

The day will come when, after harnessing the winds, the tides and gravitation we shall harness the energies of love.  And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humans will have discovered fire.

—Teilhard de Chardin


The Lord has written the promise of the resurrection in every leaf of springtime.  —Martin Luther

Joyous Easter, Pr. Steve


Pastor’s Easter Message: 04.17.14


We have now entered the Triduum – the Three Holiest Days of the Christian Year.

Our Holy Week Schedule for Journeying through the Paschal Mystery:

These service are a series of intimate worship gatherings which you will find very peaceful.

(If you want to understand the Christian Faith read the Gospel of John chapters 13 – 17 until you weep.)

  • Maundy Thursday Liturgy: based on John 13 – 17.  The service is at 7:30 pm.
  • Good Friday Liturgy: Pesent at the Cross – the paradox of our faith… 7:30 pm.
  • The Easter Vigil:  The 2nd Creation out of nothingness –  at 7:30 pm.
  • Easter Day Worship is at 10:00 AM!  Pure Joy — note the special time.
  • Easter Brunch:  Please bring either an Egg Dish or Fruit or Pastries to contribute to our Brunch.


God is your Being – and who you are, you are in God.


Pray for each other, those soon to be born, for the suffering, for the dying;

Contemplate the Mystery of our life and faith;

Nurture your Inner Life with wisdom and stillness;

Pray to stay awake and be awakened.

Triduum Blessings,  Pr. Steve


Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.16.14

Grace Waves


Peace I bequeath to you, My own peace I give you,

A peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. —John 14: 27: This passage was the Dedication Verse for Peace 15 years ago

Holy Week – the Paschal Mystery:  It has been said that if you want to understand the Christian Faith read the Gospel of John, chapters 13–17…..until you weep.

The following are a series of intimate worship gatherings this week.  Come pray, contemplate, be still and be awakened.

  • Our Maundy Thursday liturgy is based on John 13–17.  The service is at 7:30pm.
  • Our Good Friday liturgy invites us to simply be present at the Cross–the pivotal and paradoxical experience of despair and hope.  It too is at 7:30pm.
  • The Easter Vigil is the celebration of our Transformation by the Grace of God.  This liturgy begins at 7:30pm.
  • Easter Day Worship is at 10:00 AM!  It will be a joyous occasion with uplifting music, guest musicians, new art and lively spirit.  Invite your friends!  (Note the special time.)
  • Easter Brunch:  you are asked to bring either an Egg Dish or Fruit or Pastries to contribute to our Brunch.  Whatever you enjoy eating will be welcomed.

Please keep in your prayers:  Joan Squire,  Greg and Annie recovering from surgery, Rich Storelee and James on the death of their mothers, the children of Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and those who are hungry and living on the streets of our nation, those in prison…and those soon to be released!

Spring:  Hymn Sing and Video Fling – What a delight it was to share in the music and video clips Gary prepared for us last Friday.  It was our 4th joyous Sing Along offered this year.  And we raised the final funds necessary to pay for our new organ speakers.  Gary is transforming our sanctuary into a full ‘surround sound’ environment and making this instrument perform many new marvels for us.

When a father gives to his son, they both laugh.

When a son gives to his father, they both cry.

—Yiddish Proverb

Blessed Holy Week,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.12.14

Grace Waves


God’s people first came into existence when the children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt and called out into the desert to be educated into freedom, to learn to live with no other master but God. —Thomas Merton

The Focus of Lent:  The Springtime awakening to live and love God and neighbor with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Spiritual liberation frees us from slavery to self centeredness, greed, busyness, poverty, imprisonment, addictions, consumerism, disease, and pollution.  It graciously and gradually dissolves our attachment to habitual negative thinking.

Holy Week begins this Sunday with Palm Sunday and the presentation of the Passion Narrative at 9:30 am.

  • 7:30 – Maundy Thursday/April 17:  a liturgy marking the initiation of the Eucharist and the Farewell Teachings of Jesus.  (Optional Foot washing from 7 – 7:15 pm)
  • 7:30 – Good Friday/April 18:  a contemplative service focused on the mystery of Jesus’ death.
  • 7:30 – Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday/April 19:  a liturgy celebrating the birth of new life and light.
  • EASTER DAY – 10:00 AM Worship – note this Special Time!  A joyous morning with Communion and guest musicians.
  • Easter Day Brunch:  this Sunday you can sign up to bring an Egg Dish, Fruit or Pastries for Easter.  Thanks for contributing!

Lemon Pledge Day /Portion of a Letter from St. Francis: “ I bring along a broom to the churches I visit in order to clean them.  It makes me suffer grievously to enter a church and see it dirty.  After preaching I usually gather the priests and laity together to encourage them in the salvation of their souls and especially to remind them of the solicitude they are to exercise in keeping their churches, altars and everything that is used in the celebration of the divine mysteries clean.”  Join us today Saturday from 4 – 5:30 to pray with your hands.

The Church Council had a fine Retreat this past Sunday with special reflections on our Lutheran Values and the Practice of Generosity.  Speak with them about their experiences!

Prison Ministry Development – Forum this Sunday, April 13 with Seminarian Brock Klobe:  How shall we sustain our evolving Prison Ministry?  Please join in!

A reflection from Brock—an adaptation from The Lord of the Rings:

‘The Elves (Peace) next unwrapped and gave to each of the Company (those incarcerated) the clothes they had brought.  For each they had provided a hood and cloak, made according to size, of the light but warm silken stuff that Galadhrim (Christ) wove.  It was hard to say of what color they were: grey with the hue of twilight under the trees they seemed to be; and yet if they were moved, or set in another light, they were green as shadowed leaves, or brown as fallow fields by night, dusk-silver as water under the stars.  Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

‘Are those magic cloaks?’ asked Pippin (Brock), looking at them with wonder.

‘I do not know what you know what you mean by that,’ answered the leader of the Elves (Steve). ‘They are fair garments, and the web is good, for it was made in this land (Danville and surrounding).  They are Elvish (Peace) robes certainly, if that is what you mean.  Leaf and branch, water and stone: they have the hue and beauty of these things under the twilight of Lórien (Danville and surrounding) that we love; they are garments, not armor, and they will not turn shaft or blade.  But they should serve you well, they are light to wear, and warm enough or cool enough at need.  And you will find them a great aid in keeping out of the sight of unfriendly eyes, whether walk among the stones or the trees.  You are indeed high in the favor of the Lady (Christ)!  For she herself and her maidens (disciples) wove this stuff; and never before have we clad strangers (those incarcerated) in the garb of our own people.’

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

In recent years, several well-designed empirical studies have demonstrated the positive relationship between “religious” (insert faith or spiritual?) commitment and both lowered recidivism and positive institutional behavior. —W. Thomas BecknerCorrectional Chaplains: Keepers of the Cloak

We too, at Peace, are the keepers of the cloak!  As of now, we are exploring a few different dimensions of prison ministry with people inside and beyond the doors of Peace.  A group is being formed to explore a Peace-led, Monday evening worship service, for those women incarcerated at the FCI in Dublin.  Newly appointed Justice Advocacy Deacon, Ron Elsdon, is also molding the opportunity in the same institution, to teach a re-entry course which facilitates the empowerment for those women to find housing, employment, etc.  I strongly urge anyone who is interested in prison ministry to re-read the quotes above.  Feel free to email me at [email protected].  The momentum is growing and we want to nourish it, keeping it alive and having the sky as the limit!

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.03.14

Grace Waves



Preach at all times, when necessary use words.

—St. Francis

The world does not need words.
It articulates itself in sunlight, leaves, and shadows.
The stones on the path are no less real
for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.

The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.

And one word transforms it into something less or other—
illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.
Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands
glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow
arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.

Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.
To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper—
metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa
carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always—
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.

“Words” by Dana Gioia from Interrogations at Noon. © Graywolf Press, 2001.

Thanks to Karl Pfeiffer for this contribution from Garrison Keillor’s
Writer’s Almanac http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/

Sunday – April 6:

  • Inequality -“What to do about the wolf at the door”, Ron Elsdon presents Part IV of this series and the Forum.
  • Seminarian Brock Klobe preaches.
  • Our Easter Choir rehearses after worship!
  • Our Church Council shares a Retreat in the afternoon.
  • The Jazz Church West hosts Inga Swearingen, Anton Schwartz and Dan Feizli.

Spring: Hymn Sing and Video Fling!  This Organ Concert/Fundraiser to pay off our new speakers will happen on Friday, April 11 at 7:30 pm.  You will delight in the variety of music and videos that our Minister of Music Gary Sponholtz will present.  You are invited to bring friends with you for this festive occasion.  A reception will follow.

First Friday Film/April 4 at 6:30 pm: Saving Mr. Banks – the making of the Disney classic Mary Poppins.  Finest popcorn will be served and most delightful audience in the world! Join us for a great time!

This past Tuesday Seminarian Brock Klobe and I spent a Conference Day with the other Supervisors and Interns in the Bay and Sacramento areas along with the Contextual Education Director from PLTS Seminary.  Inquire of Brock about the experience.

On April 13 Brock and those who have been participating in the worship at the Dublin Prison will lead a Forum on “Sustaining the Peace/Prison Ministry”.  How do we nurture this ministry after Brock’s Internship concludes?  What are the realities of the prison context that Brock knows and we need to know?  Please join in this important time of reflection so we all understand (whether you participate or not) the dynamics of this important ministry.

Please keep in your prayers:  Joan Squire, Ari, Annie, Kathy Hepner on the death of her mother, those receiving healing prayer, Veronique, Parisa’s parents who are ill, Rich Storelee on the death of his mother, and James whose mother has died, those seeking employment, and the children of Peace and our world.

Lemon Pledge Saturday, April 12 from 4 – 5:30 pm:  Finally the Spring Clean Up Day you have longed for is here!  It will take us only an hour and a half to get everything in order for Holy Week!  And absolutely no habitual negative thinking will be allowed!  Join in with your own can of Lemon Pledge or the cleaner of your choice. Make it a personal experience!

Holy Week Schedule:

  • Palm Sunday – Worship at 9:30 am
  • Maundy Thursday, April 17 – Worship at 7:30 pm (no Seder this year)
  • Good Friday, April 18 – Worship at 7:30 pm
  • Easter Vigil, April 19 – Worship at 7:30 pm
  • EASTER, April 20 – Worship at 10:00 am!  (note special time)

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. Steve