“New Year” Thanks

Three candlesA “new year” has begun, at least in the church tradition of kicking off the congregation’s educational emphases sometime early in September. Thanks to everyone who helped make our “Rally Day” a good one, with worship, Sunday School for children and youth and our final cookout of the season on the patio.

And speaking of thanks, Sunday we also took time to celebrate Eleanor and Hugh Satterlee for everything they do around here. They are both volunteers extraordinaire! We are a better community and this is a better place for all they share with such uncomplaining grace and dedication. In the litany in their honor, we prayed that we might “find in them inspiration and example to do likewise.” Indeed, that is our hope. A congregation runs on the generous participation of all its people, working, playing and worshiping together.

This Sunday, as “we make the road by walking,” we step back from the earliest creation stories in order to let Jesus enter the scene. Our focus text will be John 1:1-18, traditionally a Christmas reading. Here we use it to link Jesus the Christ to those beings or forces, like Wisdom and the Spirit, that were with God even before the beginning. We celebrate that in Jesus the Word, the meaning of God’s creative activity, became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth. God has, is and will continue to shape us and all creation according to holy principles and purposes. Will we choose to cooperate in this vast creative enterprise?

Please join us at 10:00 AM for worship and Sunday School and stay for Adult Spiritual Formation, in which we will begin consideration of another Brian McLaren book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution of Hope, as part of our participation in Campaign Nonviolence in Palo Alto. Bring someone to share the day with you.

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.

Pastor Rick  

Summer Time…

Three candlesIt’s summer time and the living is easy, well maybe for some anyway. The rest of us keep plugging along. This week is especially busy for those of us who sang in The Choral Project – Dan Cudworth, Afan Huang and myself – as we prepare for our last concert series of the season. Pardon the shameless promotion but if you want to hear an exceptional choral concert of music you will love, I encourage to show up for one of these concerts. The music includes hymns, songs, and folk tunes from the Americas –USA, Canada and Latin America. Friday night will be in our sanctuary. Veterans, children and youth are eligible for free admission.

Saturday morning we will have the first meeting of our Assistant Pastor Search Committee. As I mentioned last week, Dan Cudworth, Don Ha, Melanie Ramirez and Hugh Satterlee have agreed to serve with Carolyn Shepard and me on this committee. We will look over job descriptions and lay out a process on Saturday. If you have input, please feel free to give it to any committee member and please hold us in your prayers.

Sunday we will spend more time with the prophet, Jeremiah. In this week’s text, we find Jeremiah in a battle with the court prophet, Hananiah, over true and false prophecy. Is it right to promise peace when it really is not on the horizon, nor have the people done those things that make for peace? What does it mean to be a true prophet of peace? After worship, we will enjoy the summer’s first patio hour, hosted by Marilyn Hunwick and Carolyn Shepard.

See you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship, Sunday School and fellowship on the patio.

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.

Pastor Rick

Lent & Hunger

Norman Borlaug
Norman Borlaug

This Sunday we will resume our consideration of hunger as a Lenten concern. If you have had some experiences of dealing with hunger and the hungry over the past few weeks, please be ready to share those in Adult Spiritual Formation on Sunday. On the Bread for the World blog you can find a tribute to a remarkable man named Norman Borlaug who devoted his life to issues of hunger. I am grateful to Hugh Satterlee who first introduced me to the work of this remarkable man. We may not be able to accomplish what he did in a lifetime but we can surely do our part. By the way, if you notice a strange odor around the campus, we engaged in a ritual of “burning bread” at last Friday’s potluck. If you’re wondering, ask Hugh. It relates to our hunger emphasis.

In worship we will spend time immersed in another of those remarkable stories from the gospel in which Jesus encounters an unlikely character and proceeds to unfold the gospel before them. This week it is “The Woman at the Well.” A Samaritan woman in conversation with a Jewish rabbi – unheard of! And yet the encounter breaks barriers and saves lives. Perhaps we might have some of that “living water” that transforms life.

See you Sunday at 10 AM for worship and Sunday School. Bring someone along to share the Lenten Journey with you and stay for Adult Spiritual Formation.

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.
Pastor Rick

Who Is My Neighbor?

13-05-22.pentecost_banner.fwThanks to everyone who helped with last Sunday’s worship service and church picnic.  Special kudos go to Eleanor Satterlee (and her sidekick, Hugh) for organizing and overseeing the picnic.  It was a very enjoyable occasion.  It was also great to have Pastor Tripp back from his sojourn in Virginia.  We missed his guitar, banjo, mandolin and mellifluous tones, among other things.

This Sunday we will consider one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  This is a very familiar territory.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves from time to time of what this story teaches.  It grows directly from Jesus’ affirmation of the Great Commandments – to love God with your whole being and to love your neighbor as your self.  It is interesting to have a focus on this second commandment two weeks in a row, as Paul quoted it in his letter to the Galatians, which we looked at last Sunday.  Maybe it really is important, even crucial, that we continue to try to understand, embed, live out this great commandment – to love others as we love ourselves.

“So. just who is my neighbor,” the Pharisee asks?  This is a relevant question for us as well.  Obviously Jesus is talking about more than the family next door or your co-worker in the next cubicle.  Neighborliness seems to have broad connotations in Jesus’ thinking – maybe extending to strangers, enemies, reaching around the globe.  One question implied in Jesus’ story is who are the people we would find it most difficult to claim as neighbor?  Look there if you want to know the challenge of neighborliness for yourself.

Come this Sunday at 10 AM dressed for the picnic and ready for celebration.  Bring someone along to share the morning with you.

May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.
Pastor Rick