I was about halfway through my trail run in Joaquin Miller Park when I heard loud voices. At first I was unsure if people were playing tag amongst the redwood trees or yelling for someone who was lost or practicing their singing skills. As I ran closer to the voices I realized that the group was singing in Spanish and singing a praise song that I remember from when I lived in Puebla Mexico. Running by the group I saw them social distancing from each other, spread out under the redwoods, yet all singing songs of worship to God. Some of the group were dancing as they sung, others raised their hands – joy and worship were in abundance. The exuberant praise was infectious, lifting me up as I ran past. As I continued to run I was struck by the creativity and imagination of this Christian community to find safe space to sing and worship together.
During this covid-19 season we must continue to strengthen our creative muscles to support each other, connect to God, and to love our neighbors. I am encouraged by the many ways that we are supporting one another – cards, phone calls, text messages, front yard visits, jars of flowers, treats, meals, etc. etc. It is also encouraging to see bags and bags of rice and beans and tuna and cooking oil dropped off weekly to help families out of work. How do we continue this creativity and generosity in the weeks and months ahead? Are there safe ways for a few members at a time to sit in front yards or back yards and support one another? Are there new ways we can learn and grow closer to God in this season that are not possible at other times? Are new needs will arise in our community as the pandemic continues, are we willing to ask others for help? Let’s pray each day – God, strengthen my creativity and imagination – help me to see new ways to support other church members, new ways to worship you and new ways to love my neighbors.
Check out our new website – yvpres.org. Great place to find these letters, request prayer, and donate online if you desire.
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. 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. (You can also give your offering through the website yvpres.org if that is easier for you.)
Connecting with God
Art/Faith conversation – Going to continue our discussion of the intersection of art and faith by reading Mary Oliver’s collection of poems ‘Devotion.’ Let Pastor Matt know 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.
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.
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 looking to partner with Hope Solutions to provide backpacks and school supplies to local elementary students. If you would like to help out please reach out to Terri Louie or Pastor Matt.
The books are in!! Please join us in reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Between the World and me.’ Reach out to Pastor Matt to join, we will drop the book on your doorstep. We will meet to discuss the book on July 22nd or 29th.
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,
(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)