Good News, 01.09.2013


 “I, Paul, have been entrusted with this special grace of proclaiming to all the unfathomable treasure of Christ and of throwing light on the inner workings of the mystery kept hidden through all the ages in God the Creator of everything.  The purpose of this was that now through the Church the powers and principalities of this world should learn how multi-faceted is the wisdom of God.”  (Ephesians 3)

 Thanks to Kaleo and Elise Ching for the marvelous Mask Making workshop with our Youth Group.  It was a profound journey with so many discoveries and much creativity along the way.  There were so many fine insights shared by our Youth of which you will get to learn more during the Epiphany Season.

The Parents of Youth Group Members will meet after worship at 11:15 this Sunday.

 All Saints by Robert Ellsberg is a collection of biographies of saints (one for each day of the year) from cultures around the world, who have lived from 3,000 years ago to our contemporary times.  It can be used as a Daily Meditation book (each story only a page and ½ at the most) or as an exquisite way to learn the History of the Church through those have brought the Incarnation of Christ to birth in their own lives. It’s a real ornament!  15 people have signed up to get a copy and Members of Peace have offered to purchase copies for those not able to afford a copy now.  Please notify me of your interest by this Sunday so we can order the copies next week.

Meditation on Thursdays from 5: 45-6:30 begins again this Thursday.  This also includes walking meditation during this 45 minute period.

Tai Chi Chuan Classes also begin this Thursday at 7:00 pm in our Gathering Hall.

 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
(Here is a delightful story, a reflection on the meaning of Christmas by our own Gun Johnston.  It is a wonderful example of what it means to Incarnate the Birth of Christ in our lives.  You will find it a real ornament!)

After two wondrous weeks in Bolivia and Colombia, I left tropical Cartagena via Bogota and San Salvador, three flights with far too many hours of waiting in between. It was Christmas night and shops closed at the airports for employees to spend time with loved ones. It felt pretty lonesome after having been with a group of travel friends for so long. I kept on thinking that I had to be somewhere anyway, so no big deal but to test the old patience. South America´s  Avianca and Taca Airlines were on time and served good food, so I  only suffered from lack of sleep and had time to people watch and solve  crossword puzzles.

 The skies were clear when we approached SFO after lots of rain. It looked like sparkling jewels of welcome home. We had a smooth landing at midnight, eventually got the checked in luggage and got through customs. It is amazing when everything works perfectly. There are so many complaints, but I am in awe of transportation where so many people are involved to make for a safe and certain outcome.

 Eric had booked a Super Shuttle service to bring me home, since BART doesn´t run that late, and I could hardly expect friends to pick me up on a Christmas night. Icy air met me by the beautiful decorations of lights showing off the Golden Gate Bridge. No shuttle in sight, so what to do? By now I had been on my  way for twenty four hours and was SO tired! While I was pondering what to try next, the blue and gold van pulls up! The young driver reassures me that somebody will take me home, but he has to coordinate with the other vans and passengers. After some time we got going, the van all filled with weary,  silent travelers who only wanted one and the same thing, getting home to a comfortable bed!

Crossing the San Mateo Bridge I kept on looking up to the skies for Santa´s sleigh. He must have taken the Polar Route , and I was disappointed. The first load of passengers got off in the hills of Hayward, and the next group hesitantly guided the driver way up to northern Berkeley. Now it was only the driver and Grandma Gun left. I started up a conversation to make sure he wasn´t going to fall asleep. We got to talking about our backgrounds, and, to my amazement, he tells me he came from Bhutan six years ago.

When I took a closer look, I could certainly see he was Bhutanese all over, young and good looking! When I told him I had been to Bhutan he almost drove off the road! In the years away from his mountainous Himalayan country he had never met anybody who knew where it was located let alone having been there. When I mentioned Timpu with the barking dogs at night, and the fact that I had visited every Zong monestary and climbed up to the Tiger´s Nest, he was almost in tears!! His name is Nirvan,  and he drives travelers at night in order to go back to school and study Community Planning. I was in awe of this young man, so hardworking. He says he might not go back to Bhutan to work but only to visit family. We covered the present situation of violence in Oakland where we were driving around at night.

 All of a sudden my driver discovers that he will run out of natural gas for his van driving to Danville and then picking up a passenger in Concord back to SFO. He can only fill at the airports! It sounds like third world country to me. By now it is past two a.m. and not much of a choice, when I agreed to let him go to Oakland Airport for a fill-up. There certainly wasn´t much traffic but an occasional veering drunk driver to avoid. It was interesting to watch the procedure of filling gas, and with a sigh of relief we hit the road again, now worrying if he will get to Concord by 3:30a.m.where he has a scheduled pick-up. During this drive Nirvan  thanks me profusely  and assures me I will receive good Karma for the good  deed of not getting upset but let him make up for his mistake of not getting enough gas earlier. With the stress he encounters during long hours I didn´t have the heart to reprimand this well- mannered young man. I truly felt blessed that we had met and could share his home country of Bhutan. The law of Karma is closely related to reincarnation. It states that every action of a person, no matter how small it may be, influences how his soul will be born in his new incarnation. Maybe it will work on my back pain as well? I can use all the good Karma I can get.

 Time will tell, and in the meantime I  treasure the memory of this moonlit Christmas night when I met Nirvan from Bhutan.

Blessed Epiphany,  Pr. Steve