Rooted in our lives

labyrinth01This week we will finish the third section of We Make the Road by Walking, the one that focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus, Paul and the early church, carrying us through the Lenten and Easter seasons. Here the focus is on Paul and the others in the early church who sustained their faith through all the difficulties and persecution that came their way. They truly “made the road by walking it,” keeping the movement going in spite of all they had to struggle with.

Today, when we live in an environment that is at least tolerant and often hospitable to the church, I wonder if we don’t have it too easy. I’m not advocating increased suffering as a means of strengthening our faith, but these texts make me think of those people around the world who hold on to their faith at great risk. I think of Christians in Myanmar, India, the Middle East, parts of Africa, who are persecuted and even killed for holding fast to what they believe about the Gospel. There is something stirring about sisters and brothers in the family of faith who are willing to lay down their lives for what we often profess so easily and glibly.

Brian McLaren has challenged us to see the Gospel as fomenting a “global uprising” for peace and justice, for love and compassion, for establishing the Beloved Community of God on earth today. As people of privilege we have unique challenges in living into that Beloved Community. How do we let the Gospel be so rooted in our lives that it transforms us in the way it has transformed the lives of those around the world willing to risk their lives to make it real? How do we partner with them in bringing the Body of Christ fully alive?

We did begin the series, “Painting the Stars: Science, Religion and an Evolving Earth,” last week as the pastor found the video at the last minute. (Sigh!) The video is thoughtful and well produced, inviting us to understand an “evolutionary paradigm” as compatible, even helpful, in understanding our faith tradition. As usual the discussion was lively and helpful. We will continue the series this Sunday with a consideration of “A Renaissance of Wonder.”

Please plan to be here by 10:00 AM for worship and Sunday School, followed by Adult Spiritual Formation. What better time to bring others along to share in the life of our community than this blessed Easter season?

May we continue to grow together as God’s people.

Pastor Rick  

From the Pastor

God's PeopleThank you all for your cards, condolences and kind words on the death of my sister, Joan. I will be headed to Boise this Wednesday, April 22, to conduct the memorial service and see my family. I will be back on Saturday in time for the Evergreen Planning Meeting as well as worship and the Quarterly Business Meeting on Sunday. We all have our ways to handle loss. It has been good for me to have my classes to teach at PSR and ABSW and The Choral Project. Both of these feed me as does the opportunity to share life and ministry with you all. Thanks for every effort you make to live into the Beloved Community of God.

In a bit of shameless shilling, I would like to encourage any and all of you within range to attend one of The Choral Project concerts this weekend – Friday night in our Sanctuary, Saturday evening in Santa Cruz and Sunday afternoon at Mission Santa Clara. (Details at www.choralproject.org/)The brief but powerful program explores some music of incredible spiritual depth and beauty. Under the theme, “Chiaroscuro,” we sing of the interplay of light and dark. What is especially meaningful to me at this moment is the way God is present and active in the darkness as in the light.

Sunday we continue our journey into a “Global Uprising” with consideration of “The Uprising of Discipleship.” The texts for the week cover Jesus’ call and commissioning of his followers to walk the Way and carry out his ministry of bringing the Beloved Community on earth in the here and now. How do we respond, centuries later, to the echoing call to “feed my sheep,” to “tend my lambs,” to heal the sick, to care for the needy, to spread the Good News far and wide?

In Adult Spiritual Formation we welcome representatives of the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford, a ministry which we helped found and have long supported. They will update us on the work that they are doing among progressive Christians at the university.

Please be here by 10:00 AM on Sunday for worship and Sunday School and stay for Adult Spiritual Formation. What better time to bring others along to share in the life of our community than this blessed Easter season?

May we continue to grow together as God’s people.

Pastor Rick