Faith, Creativity and Perseverance
“When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3 Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2.1-12 (NRSV)
I love this story on many levels - Jesus’ popularity was rising, filling a house full with his followers and those curious to see who he was. Four friends go to help another friend who needs healing. They carry him to the house but can’t get in, so they decide that they need to destroy the roof of the home in order to get to Jesus. The audacity of these friends, going to any means necessary to help get him to Jesus. Jesus taught ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s delivering justice.’ Here are four friends with deep faith, taking creative action, not letting any obstacle turn them away. As we call and write letters to each other, strengthening our web of concern - let us listen for each others’ needs and imagine how we might offer help and support. My prayer is that we would have the same faith, creativity, and perseverance as these four friends as we care for one another.
Check out our new website – yvpres.org. Great place to find these letters, request prayer, and donate online if you desire. If you have suggestions for additional resources you’d like on the website, please let me know.
Don’t grow weary of creating community - 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.
If you have an urgent prayer request – please call Paula Ash (925) 435 – 2859 to start the prayer chain.
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. A reminder that every Sunday morning the Zoom link/meeting number is the same. You can always log in from a previous email. You can use your smartphone or computer to join. 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.)
Even as we don’t see each other in person, our church continues to have our ongoing expenses. If you are able, please mail in your offering to YVPC, 2140 Minert Rd., Concord, CA, 94518. You can also give your offering through the website yvpres.org if that is easier for you.
Connecting with God
Unfortunately, we must cancel our yearly church retreat to Zephyr Point Conference Center in Tahoe. Zephyr Point does have rooms available for individual retreats if there is interest. Check out their website for details www.zephyrpoint.org
Art/Faith conversation – Going to continue our discussion of the intersection of art and faith by reading Mary Oliver’s collection of poems ‘Devotion.’ Contact Pastor Matt if you are interested in joining.
Lament – As the number of covid-19 cases spike and we wrestle with racial justice in our society, remember the importance of lament – Use a bowl salt and a bowl of water, share with God what breaks your heart/makes you angry, sprinkling salt, like tears, into the water.
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
We are gathering food to partner with Mision Hispana de Concord. We need dried beans, white rice, cereal, spaghetti, cooking oil, and tuna. Schedule the drop off with Pastor Matt.
Make sure you are registered to vote in the November election.
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)