Pastor Rick: December 19

wreathsWe had a lovely time Sunday afternoon enjoying the gracious hospitality of Nana and Alex Spiridon at their annual holiday open house.  It was especially nice to celebrate Grace’s completion of her MBA (from the joint program between Columbia and UC Berkeley) along with her proud parents and husband, Greg.  It was good to see some old friends as well.

Sunday’s service was a challenging one for most of us as we sought to reconcile the day’s focus on joy (Gaudete Sunday) and the enormous tragedy of the mass shooting in Newtown, CT.  Thanks to Pastor Tripp who brought a powerful witness through Bruce Cockburn’s song, “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”; to Daniel Ramirez for his eloquent ringing of the “singing bowl”; to the wonderfully joyful music provided by Susanna Jimenez, Jan and the choir; and to Melanie Ramirez and Dona Smith-Powers for providing and arranging the lovely poinsettias.   As I said Sunday, perhaps all we can do in moments like these is light candles in protest against the shadows that threaten us.

It felt like this was the right place to be on Sunday, as it was Friday night when we gathered in the sanctuary for our contemplative service.  If you and/or someone you know needs time and space to reflect on what’s going on in the world and what might be a faith response, I invite you and/or them to take advantage of the peaceful beauty of our sanctuary, especially on Friday night, when we will have our final prayer service for this season.

Sunday morning we will celebrate the “Light of Love” that breaks into the world and into our lives at this holy time.  Will we be as open as Mary was to the angel’s announcement of God’s calling?  Can we give ourselves over as she did to the power of love to transform our lives?  We will have extra music Sunday as we welcome an octet of singers from The Choral Project (the choir in which Dan Cudworth and I sing).  They will provide some special music as well as augment our choir.  Following worship, we’ll gather in the Fellowship Hall for our annual Christmas Brunch with a new feature – a Do-It-Yourself Christmas pageant!

And don’t forget we will have a Christmas Eve service Monday evening at 5:30 PM in the candlelit sanctuary.  It is a beautiful time for the whole family to join in worship of God who comes to us as a small child, a vulnerable child who in time will become “Jesus, the Light of the World.

This is a wonderful time to invite a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to join in worship, sharing and celebrating.  See you Sunday before 10:00 AM and at the other events of the season.

May God bless us and keep us on the way,

Pastor Rick