Pastor’s Weekly Message: 03.29.17

Grace Waves


Mud paste daubed on a blind man’s eyes…

“I have come into this world for this reason—to provide Clear Discernment; so that the blind may see (and see what’s really happening) and those who claim to see—may become blind.”  Jesus (John 9)

From Pr. Elizabeth – Dear Friends of Peace:

Thank you for the beautiful send-off last Sunday — the prayer with laying on of hands, the gifts, the delicious cake and the words of warm affection from each of you for me and Abigail.  We shall  never forget it, shall never forget you and shall never forget the part you played during the last 10 years in the manifestation of God’s grace in our lives.
With faith, hope and gratitude, Pastor Elizabeth
Healing Prayer Sunday:  All we can do is offer gratitude for the wounds shared, prayers heard and strength received through the healing graces of the Spirit.  “Where two or three are gathered I am present.”
Family Service – Drumming this Sunday at 10 AM.  Enjoy restoring our ancient worship roots with your kids and families as we celebrate percussive possibilities through Ezekiel’s ‘Dry Bones’ and the story of Lazarus.
Our Maundy Thursday Seder – April 13 at 6:30 pm – 20 people already Signed Up!  This ancient sacred Jewish Meal commemorates the Exodus from Egypt – the movement from slavery to freedom. It is the first recorded Liberation Story in history and it became the Meal at which Jesus initiated Communion – the meal of mercy and justice. Enjoy an evening of stories, songs, feasting, solemnity and hilarity.  Sign up on Sunday or at:  [email protected].  If you wish to assist with the Meal Preparations, Diana Howard and her Committee are coordinating the details.
Forum on Sanctuary on April 9:  Our church council and justice advocacy group both recently discussed the idea of Peace as a Sanctuary Church and both groups agreed that we should further explore becoming part of the Sanctuary movement.  As part of this on-going exploration Ron Elsdon and I will facilitate the April 9 Forum on this subject.  All are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Compassionate Migration Policies:  As Lutherans, we heed the Bible when it tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, whether our neighbor lives in our community or across the world. Our faith has compelled us to help resettled refugees since 1939, more than 40 years before the U.S. government created the refugee resettlement program. Today, we continue to do ministry with the most vulnerable, whether they arrived through our refugee program or came to our southern border to seek safety. We know that migrants and refugees strengthen our congregations, our communities, and our nation. Pray for Clear Discernment; act with compassion.  (ELCA Justice Advocacy)
In the first month following last November’s election the Southern Poverty Law Center documented 1,094 hate crimes or incidents, the majority of which were anti-immigrant, followed by anti-Black, then anti-Muslim and then anti-gay incidents.
Interfaith Yom HaShoah – Sunday, April 23 from 3-4 pm at Beth Chaim / In Solidarity:  The Voices Silenced, the Lessons Learned.  As we remember the Victims of the Holocaust we will also remember those who have been targeted recently.  Keynote Speaker – Jim McGarry, Educator in Religious studies specializing in Ethics, Social Justice and Holocaust Studies.
Earth Songs”  We experienced an amazing concert with the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band.  Music inspired by Zion National Park, Montana, China and Ansel Adams charged the performance with intriguing sounds/instruments and an uplifting spirit that simply carried the audience away. Gratitude to Gary and Austin for coordinating (and muscling) this event into reality.
And as Ken said:  What a beautiful evening we all shared this past Sunday. Gary is such a blessing to our church.  Who could tell the straights from the queers? We had just one group of very happy polite people.  How times have changed in our lifetimes — Gay is no longer unique, it’s just a different part of the norm.
First Friday Films:  April 7, 6:30 pm – The Brand New Testament — Join us in the Gathering Hall for a screening of this international hit from Belgium on our new smart TV. Written and directed by Jaco Van Doramael, it is a playful, dark satire in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan meets Monty Python. The film takes us on a farcical romp straight through current religious thought to something completely different. The film stars Benoît PoelvoordeCatherine DeneuveFrançois DamiensYolande Moreau and Pili Groyne. It was shortlisted for Best Foreign Film at the 2016 Academy Awards and has been nominated for and/or won over 45 U.S. and international awards. Stephen Holden of The New York Times calls it, “Wickedly amusing! A surreal comedy whose endless visual imagination matches its conceptual wit.”  (Parents are cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for those under 13.)
Lenten Meditation Options:  Walk the Labyrinth; Gaze on the Transfiguration Painting, Pray/Meditate underneath our Tent of Revealings; read the Psalms.
Jazz Church West hosts The Erik Jekabson Quintet this Sunday at 5:00 pm.  Ever been curious about what the Berkeley Jazz School faculty band would sound like?  This is it….and it was the inspiration of our own JazzCat Ed Klitsch!  So many ministry dimensions have evolved through our Jazz Church:  the inspiring music itself in our unique sanctuary, the formation of creative groups (Saxophonistas), pastoral care, new friendships, the prayers, the Receptions (rare opportunities for people to honestly connect), and hovering all about a Spirit of Joy dancing in the Wonders of Life’s Preciousness..

The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath:  it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes….”

Merciful Lenten blessings,
Pr. Steve