Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.17.16

Grace Waves


Courage is coming to realize that what does and does not happen in the world does so because of what you and I fail to say – not when silence is right, but when we fear the cost to ourselves of speaking out.  —Joan Chittister

Family Service – A service of joy and delight is coming our way this Sunday.  Bring all your kids and grandkids to celebrate Thanksgiving and the gift of life which is ours!  The little ones will lead our prayers and praise and the Confirmands will teach us.

Pr. Margareta will officially retire from her responsibilities at Peace this Sunday.  Here is a poem in Honor of her Ministry among us these past 15 years:

I Celebrate Children – who laugh out loud, who walk in the mud and dawdle in the puddles, who put chocolate fingers anywhere, who like to be tickled;

who scribble in church, who whisper in loud voices, who sing in louder voices, who run…and laugh when they fall, who cry at the top of their lungs;

who cover themselves with Band-Aids, who squeeze the toothpaste all over the bathroom, who slurp their soup, who chew cough drops, who ask questions;

who give us sticky –paste-covered drawings, who want their picture taken, who won’t use their napkins, who bury goldfish and sleep with the dog;

who hug us in a hurry and rush outside without their hats and coats.  I celebrate children!

 Embracing Hope:  Living beyond Fear — Thanksgiving Eve Interfaith Service next Wed., Nov. 23 at 7:30 at St. Joan of Arc church in San Ramon . The election results have made it clear we need to encourage and be present for each other.  This annual service which Rabbi Dan and I have prepared will be a source of inspiration and hope for you.  Refugees will be present to tell their stories.  Invite your friends, bring canned goods, your donation will support our I-SRV Refugee Resettlement Program, and meet new friends of other faiths at the reception.

Want to live on Food Stamps?  Try living on $6.32/day during Thanksgiving Week and you will discover the reality of what poverty means.

Pacific Choir Award Ceremony:  Last Saturday a Certificate of Honor was presented to 10 Choir Members by The General Consul of the Republic of Korea  who attended the ceremony.  Quite an honor!

Your Pledge Cards can be brought to Peace this Sunday or mailed to the church office.

It is estimated that a thousand people voted at Peace last Tuesday.

Solar Halos:  Thanks to all who are contributing to our solar campaign.  Go to our website to check out updates.  Remember the purchase of Linda Elsdon’s photography will benefit Solar Halos as well.  Save the Date:  Jon Bronstein will join us for the Forum on December 4 to talk about the process and benefits of the newly installed Solar Panels at Beth Chaim.  For those who wish a tour at Beth Chaim will be available at the conclusion of the Forum.

Our Recycling efforts have intensified at Peace.  Pay attention to the Green and Blue cans and the Liquid Disposal Pitchers.  These new habits will serve our earth and future generations well.

Water is Life – Standing Rock, Water Protectors:  In April Tribal Elder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard called for an encampment to protest and block the construction of a pipeline through their Sioux ancestral lands.  Over 200 tribes are now represented with over 8000 people participating.  The proposed pipeline pathway crosses the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.  Originally the pipeline was north of Bismarck, ND but was altered to the south because of public concerns about leaks endangering the city’s water supply. Now it crosses the Standing Rock Reservation.  No Environmental Impact Assessment has been done.  The heavy handed use of tear gas, rubber bullets, attack dogs, drone surveillance, and strip searches of arrestees continues.  Please keep these indigenous friends in your prayers.  For them clean water is sacred not a right for purchase.  The indigenous wisdom tradition implores tribal peoples to discern key life decisions in light of how their choices will impact their descendants 7 Generations from now.

We celebrate Christ the Vulnerable this Sunday, the conclusion of this church year.  What a year it has been.  A reflection from Bonhoeffer to use as preparation for Sunday.

Only when one knows that the name of God may not be uttered – may one sometimes speak the name of Jesus Christ.

Only when one loves life and the earth so much that one feels the anguish of everything seeming to be lost and at its end – may one believe in the resurrection of the dead and a New Creation.

Only when one accepts the law of God as binding for oneself – may one perhaps sometimes speak of grace.

Only when the wrath of God against everything that destroys life is recognized – can a something of forgiveness and the love of enemies touch our hearts.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.11.16

Grace Waves


We come at last to the dark

and enter in.  We are given bodies

newly made out of their absence

from one another in the light

of the ordinary day.  We come

to the space between ourselves,

the narrow doorway, and pass

through into the land of the wholly loved.
—Wendell Berry:  Sabbath 3

We remembered All the Saints and they remembered us this past Sunday with our Dag Hammarskjold ‘Markingsmass’.  The absence of loved ones leaves a hollow tenderness and gratitude within us which we always carry.  It has been said of God that there is only one thing God can’t accomplish:  God doesn’t know how to be absent from us.  Always the prayers continue – for their rest and completion and for our joy, grounding and grace.

Keep in your prayers:  Margaret Bender, Renee’s mother, our Confirmands, Rick, Brian, Natalie, Pari, Mike, Ruth, Ed Klitsch., Linda B., our country – for the acknowledging, addressing and healing of our divisions.

This Sunday will be our Stewarding Sunday.

Solar Halos:  Thank you for all the community inquiries and support – our roof is getting brighter and brighter!  Be sure to check out our new web page for updated information.

From the ELCA:  This election season included rhetoric and rancor that has divided and wounded our nation. Christ calls the church to the ministry of reconciliation and gifts us with the Holy Spirit for this work.  This is the time for us to engage in deep listening and communal discernment, practicing the art of difficult conversations and actively accompanying those in our communities who are suffering or alienated.   The work of ELCA Advocacy, grounded in the Gospel and our social teaching, also continues. We look forward to engaging with the new White House administration, Congress and state governments around the country on our core areas of concern to end hunger, alleviate poverty, welcome the stranger and care for all of God’s creation. We will create and shape policies that reflect this church’s deep commitment to racial and gender justice, and we will work alongside ecumenical and interfaith partners to further God’s work in our world.

On the occasion of our 1st Anniversary:  Dear Peace, We write to you in the name of Holy Love.  Our gratitude for your presence and provided space has transcended in the reverberation of laughter, music and joy’ as all those in the attendance of our wedding became the loving support this world cannot live without.  All our love,  Xanthia and Brock

Our next Family Service will be on November 20 at 10 am!  Bring all your babies, toddlers, young ones and teens to join in this celebration!  This is also the last Sunday of the Church Year.

What remains for us is only the very narrow path, sometimes barely discernible, of taking each day as if it were the last and yet living it faithfully and responsibly as if there were yet to be a great future. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.03.2016

Grace Waves


We normally win the kind of eternity for which or lives prepare us.”  Socrates

All Saints will be celebrated this Sunday, Nov. 6 with a special “Markingsmass” incorporating the writings of Dag Hammarskjold.  We will remember our loved ones who have died during this past year.  (The Time Change is this Sunday so let your clock ‘fall back’

Thanks to Kersti for our Congregational Photo this past Sunday. We are trying to figure out a way to include those of you who weren’t able to be present.

First Friday Films is on track this month, landing this week Nov 4 with Star Trek Beyond.  Join the group 6:30pm in the Youth Center, popcorn during the film and discussion following.

500th Anniversary of the Reformation:  Pope Francis on Reformation Day in Lund, Sweden urged members of the two faith communities to “mend a critical moment of our history” by forging new common paths together.  More to come during this next year!

Jazz Church West features John Calloway and Clave Unplugged – the finest in Latin Jazz.  And the ‘Let There Be Light’ Exhibit officially opens with the Photography of Linda Elsdon and the Paintings of Thais.  Spread the word to your friends.

Solar Halos:  Many of us became increasingly aware and concerned about climate changes after our forum study of Pope Francis Encyclical on the effects of climate change.  After struggling and praying about what we personally could do, a small committee was formed to investigate getting solar for Peace.  We concluded that a solar project for Peace would not only prove to be another specific action by Peace Lutheran Church to preserve the environment, but it also had the potential of saving Peace $10,000 and more in annual energy costs.  Check our new website link for more details, and even more to come.

Our next Family Service will be on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 10 am.  That service will mark the conclusion of this church year.

Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 pm:  The music for our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service this year (St. Joan’s Catholic Church in San Ramon) is going to feature a Choir composed of people from all of the different faith communities in ISRV, directed by Eve Decker from Beth Chaim who will also sing some of her own original soulful music, and the accompanist will be the talented Julie Wolf. but she will be leading .  We will be have two rehearsals for this Interfaith Choir and it is hope that you can attend one or both of the rehearsals.  Rehearsals will be on Sundays, November 6 and 20, 4:30-5:45, at St. Joan of Arc, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon.  Please bring along anyone you know who loves to sing and might be interested in the Interfaith Service whether they identify with a faith community or not.  I hope you will come and sing at the Interfaith Service even if by some chance you cannot make either of the rehearsals.

Holy One of Compassion, in this world wounded by injustice and ignorance give us religious and political leaders of courage and vision.  Dedicate them to the common good.  May we as global peacemakers partner with them in creating a world build on respect, reverence, humility and responsibility – a culture of peace that reflects your presence.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve