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Expectations In The Time of the Unexpected//June 16

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? Matthew 16.21-26 (NRSV)

Expectations. Expectations. Expectations. We always have them even when we pretend that we don’t. Peter expected the Messiah, the chosen one, to come into the world, kick out the Romans and create a powerful dominating nation of Israel. He is disturbed and aghast at the idea that Jesus will undergo suffering and be killed. Peter does not have the imagination for Jesus’ resurrection because of his expectations about the Messiah. Peter was caught up in human expectations and missing out on God’s work in the world. Jesus invites Peter and the other disciples to lose their lives in Kingdom work, following the way of the cross. My sense is that so many of our expectations are not happening during this covid-19 pandemic. Expectations to see family, to travel, to celebrate graduations/weddings, to gather and mourn with others, and to take on new experiments as a church community. Expectations that can’t happen at this time. Many of us also have expectations around social change and how to bring racial justice and healing to our country. Changes are coming quickly and don’t match our expectation. In order to listen to God and take faithful steps during this season we must be quick to acknowledge when our expectations were not met, which can help us to step into a new reality. One example – we expected to be meeting in our church sanctuary for Sunday services – admitting this and feeling the grief of it, opens up one to be able to take part in new ways of gathering for worship, prayer, and community (Zoom calls). It is helpful that Peter voices his expectations of Jesus out loud, learns that Jesus has a different role and purpose in the world, and gets invited to join Jesus in taking up his own cross. Let us reflect on the things that have changed, expectations not met, grieve these losses but then step into what God is doing. The quicker we move through this process the quicker we get to experience God’s work of love and hope and justice in this moment.


  1. Community meetings/conversations via Zoom call? – meal together, cooking class, bird watching discussion, book/poetry discussion? Let me know if you would want to participate in any of these meet ups.

  2. Check out our new website – Great place to find these letters, request prayer, and donate online if you desire.

  3. Please continue to call/text/send cards to three different members of our community to check in on each other and ask to pray with each other.

  4. If you have an urgent prayer request – please call Paula Ash (925) 435 – 2859 to start the prayer chain.

  5. 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 Saliki to help (405) 714 – 3641.)

  6. 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. (You can also give your offering through the website if that is easier for you.)

Connecting with God

  1. Gratitude journal – During a season of uncertainty and hardship, giving thanks is a powerful spiritual practice. Consider writing down ten things each day you thankful to God for.

  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.

Loving our neighbors

  1. As we listen and learn and take further steps against racial injustice – we are going to be reading/discussing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Between the World and me.’ Reach out to Pastor Matt to join, we will drop the book on your doorstep.

  2. We are gathering food to partner with Mision Hispana de Concord and take care of each other. We need dried beans, white rice, cereal, spaghetti, cooking oil, and tuna. Schedule the drop off with Pastor Matt.

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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