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Joy + Grief//March 31

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Dear YVPC community, Good morning. I have been reading through a new translation of the New Testament by N.T. Wright each morning. I am struck by how the circumstances of our lives (COVID-19, scarcity, fears) affect the way we read and understand the stories of scripture. In the fourteenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus gets word of the murder of John the Baptist. He grieves the death of his close friend. As Jesus tries to withdraw from others and mourn the loss of his friend, he is surrounded by hungry crowds and others bringing their sick relatives to be healed. Jesus is grieving and dealing with the immediate physical needs of those close to him. Feels a lot like many of our lives – we are holding the grief of job losses, working in dangerous places, loss of special trips planned months ago, loss of seeing loved ones and the loss of being unable to venture outside our homes. We are grieving these losses, praying for our community and loved ones to be protected, and at the same time we are caring for the physical needs of those close to us. As we hold grief and care for those around us, it is good to know that Jesus knows this parts of life. We don’t follow a Savior who is separate from the messiness of life but one who entered into the suffering and hardships of this world. Jesus knew joy and grief. He experienced the suffering of the sick and knew how to reach out in service to those near him. We can reach out to him in prayer, asking for the strength and courage that he showed throughout his life. We must hold our grief at this time, letting it come when we feel it. We must also seek out those near us who need encouragement or help during this time. May God grow us as a church community in this season to more faithfully follow his son Jesus. Community 1. Use the prayer sheet from last Sunday, included in this letter, to pray for and reach out to others in our church community. 2. Each week call/text two or three different members of our community to check in on each other and ask to pray with each other 3. Write a card or postcard to another person in our church each day, work your way through the whole church directory 4. 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 and I will send you one. Please bring juice and bread to the call so that we can all share Communion together.

5. 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 1. Lament prayers – set out a small bowl of water and a bowl of salt, every time you read or hear about pain and suffering sprinkle salt into the water as a prayer of tears, asking God to come and heal and save. 2. 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 or call me and we will get one delivered to you. 3. Continue our Lenten prayers of healing – Kim’s parents (healing), Chrissy (migraines), Lucie (back), Eric (need for surgery), Laura’s friend Laura (recovery from stroke), Juanita (strength).

Loving our neighbors 1. 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. 2. Washing hands, practicing social distancing, and only leaving our homes for essential needs to help protect the most vulnerable members of our community. 3. Filling our paper fish banks with loose change to support Presbyterian Disaster Relief through ‘One Great Hour of Sharing.’ 4. 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, Pastor Matt

(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)

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