April 21, 2020
Dear YVPC community,
With stay-at-home orders still in place many of us are spending more and more time in our gardens or going for walks in the neighborhood to get outside and enjoy beauty. Spring flowers, new growth, and songbirds are all around. There is something healing in getting ones’ fingers into the dirt of a garden, pulling weeds, planting seeds, picking a flower. Spring growth and gardens remind me of when Jesus used the agriculture life around him to describe the Kingdom of God.
Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13.31-32 (NRSV)
The Kingdom of God entered a new phase through the resurrection of Jesus, bringing hope and life and reconciliation. What begins as a small act, a tiny seed will grow and grow as we patiently wait and watch. If you have planted windowsill herbs or backyard tomatoes, you know that grow is not overnight. It takes time and patience and tender care. God’s kingdom work is constant and is growing but takes time. We must be patient as we think of the changes we want to see in our own lives and our neighborhoods. We can trust Jesus’ words that the Kingdom of God is growing in us and around us even when we wake up and don’t see a change from the day before. There are other stories and parables of Jesus that speak to the invitation to join God’s kingdom work but this parable asks us first to trust that God is the primary actor bringing forgiveness and love and justice into our lives and world. We are reminded in the parable of the mustard seed that the kingdom of God has small beginnings but we can trust that it is growing and expanding. Take time this week to watch the growth around you - whether a houseplant, backyard garden, or a neighbor’s garden as you walk outside - remember Jesus’ words about the kingdom of God, trust this growth, and rest in the fact that love and forgiveness and justice will continue to expand.
Please continue to call/text two or three different members of our community to check in on each other and ask to pray with each other
If you have an urgent prayer request – please call Ash (925) 435 – 2859 to start the prayer chain.
Write a card or postcard to another person in our church each day, work your way through the whole church directory
Join the Zoom call this Sunday for our worship gathering. Zoom is a digital platform that facilitates online group meetings. You will find an invitation to the Zoom call in your email. You can use your smartphone or computer to join. If you haven’t gotten an invitation, please call or email me. Please bring juice and bread to the call so that we can all share Communion together. (If you are having trouble with Zoom – please reach out to Singeh to help (405) 714 – 3641.)
Even as we don’t see each other in person, our church will continue to have our ongoing expenses. If you are able, please mail in your offering to YVPC, 2140 Minert Rd., Concord, Ca, 94518. Thanks.
Connecting with God
Grief and Loss discussion with Tom Prinz April 29th at 7pm (via Zoom), please plan on joining us as we return to our conversation from January about practices to help process and journey through grief and loss.
Take time to be silent with God. Find comfortable seat and spend time just listening to God.
Gratitude journal – During a season of uncertainty and hardship, giving thanks can be a powerful spiritual practice. Consider writing down ten things each day you thankful to God for.
Use the ‘Common Prayer – A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals’ by Shane Claiborne for daily prayer and to guide our weekly worship times. You can find it online at commonprayer.net or call me and we will get one delivered to you.
Loving our neighbors
If you are sheltering in place, light a candle in your home. Each time you see the candle pray for essential workers at this time at hospitals, grocery stores, post office, gas stations etc.
Washing hands, practicing social distancing, and only leaving our homes for essential needs to help protect the most vulnerable members of our community.
Deacon’s Food Closet – We have an abundance of canned food at the church building. Please let me know if you or a neighbor needs food and we can drop it on the doorstep.
Grace and Peace,
(please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions, concerns, or ideas of ways we can stay connected and support each other (510) 856 – 7434)