Pastor’s Weekly Message: 12.02.16

Grace Waves


Bedeviled human, your plight, in waking, is to choose from the words that even now sleep on your tongue, and to know that tangled among them and terribly new is the sentence that could change your life. —The Meadow, Marie Howe

With the initiation of the Advent Season our thanks to Noah and Charlene, and to Ken for creating our Advent Wreaths.  And what a blessing to have a Pipe Organ for our Advent and Christmas Seasons!  Thank you Gary.  (Be sure to speak with him after worship about the intricacies and history of this fine instrument.)

Pr. Margareta sends her gratitude for all the prayers and blessings offered her at her Retirement Service.  Her heart was filled to overflowing with the love expressed by so many friends. The congratulatory tributes from Pr. Elizabeth, Rabbi Dan, and Stefan Safsten through Pr. Lucy made this a moving occasion for us all.

Forum this Sunday:  Jon Bronstein, the Chair of the Solar Committee at Beth Chaim (where solar panels have been successfully installed) will speak about their process and show us how their energy efficiency is monitored.  For those who wish to go to Beth Chaim afterwards a brief tour will be conducted there.  Gratitude to all who have contributed Solar Halos thus far.  To learn more about our Solar Halos Campaign you can direct people to our homepage at

Thanks to all who have submitted their Pledge Cards.

Our Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve celebration was a profound and delightful evening of music by our Interfaith Choir and Eve Decker and Julie Wolf, chants and prayers from around the world, the Pacific Choir youth who were marvelous, reflections by Rabbi Dan and myself, and a wonderful interview by Avi Rose of Jewish Family Service with our refugees Gamal and Jalal who are residing at San Damiano.  Essential Bridges of Understanding are built every time we come together.  One woman fled Iran because of Baha’i persecution there remarked that she had never before experienced an harmonious gathering of people from so many different faiths in one sanctuary.  We also raised $1785 for the ongoing work with our Refugee Resettlement Program and Shelter, Inc.  (The Sweetest Melody is attending to the cries of a hungry heart.)

First Friday Films, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room A Christmas Story:  Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker’s life is filled with what every kid deals with at Christmas – bullies at school, feverish dreams about what he wants from Santa and weird presents from his relatives. You will laugh, no matter your age, at every caper in this classic film (1983!) which Roger Ebert rated 4 out of 4. Take a trip back to kid-time Christmas with us – popcorn included! Run time 93 minutes; PG rated.

We most need to pray when we least feel least like praying.  Even when we seem unable to pray as we ought, we can trust the Spirit prays within us with sighs too deep for words, for the prayer of the heart depends not on our temperament or natural capacity for quiet but on the Spirit’s presence and gift meant for each of us.
—Catherine of Siena

Please keep in your prayers:  Fred Garrity, Margaret Bender, Corine, Zach, Marshall, Pr. Margareta and her parents,  interfaith friends, our Confirmands, the hungry and homeless, those who work for the common good, the indigenous peoples from 200 tribes now gathered at Standing Rock, ND seeking the justice of clean water, those who pray for us, gratitude for healings that have occurred; those who live with HIV/AIDS, and for my friend Jack Pantaleo who began the first Aids Ministry in San Francisco in 1983.

News from our Partners in Laurel Galan, Nicaragua:  Hurricane Otto hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua on Thanksgiving, and we weren’t sure if we were going to get heavy rain on the Pacific side as well, so we postponed our annual dinner at the Ben Linder House for this Thursday. Luckily, the rain was very light here, and only minor damage in the Eastern and Southern parts of Nicaragua.  Eduardo talked with Dona Ligia last week and she said that in the community they are going to have good harvests. There is enough water in the river so that they are not having to use the water from the wells right now. Dona Ligia’s grandson has not had the operation yet, he is being observed until they say he is healthy enough.  Luis suffered an accident about a month ago; his nephew accidentally backed over him with his truck. He was very fortunate to not have broken any bones or internal damage, just soreness and severe road rash. He also just underwent eye surgery yesterday and that went well. So prayers for him are very appreciated as he mends!

Animo for your work as well as we enter this time of Advent, actively waiting and reflecting.   Amanda and Memo

Jazz Church West hosts Inga Swearingen, Anton Schwartz and Dan Feiszli this Sunday at 5 pm – Free!  This trio is stunning,  elegant and a daring jazz venture.  Inga has sung on Prairie Home Companion for years.  Did you see our local Danville Paper has an article about the Jazz Church West?  It contains this quote:  One performer explains the Jazz Church West experience this way, “You don’t understand how good this is. As musicians, we practice endlessly but you only go so far with that. It’s the audience who says, take me further, go there, back off, be gentle with me—and their responsiveness generates our creativity—to do things we’ve never done before, which is the point of jazz. This crowd is so tuned in, there are no distractions, pure focus—and sparks fly. This is why I got into jazz.”  Invite friends to join you – they will thank you!

Language is almost all we have left of action in the modern world. For many of us, at least, action has become what we say:  the moral life is lived out in what we say more often than what we do. —M. Howe


Gods and men love maps

they draw borders with pens that

split lives like an ax. —Haiku by John Lederach

Advent blessings,  Pr. Steve