Jesus and his disciples were always getting into trouble. Talking with the wrong people, eating with sinners, creating community with outcasts, touching lepers, the list goes on and on. Religious leaders didn’t like Jesus’ words or actions. One Sabbath, Jesus and the disciples got in trouble for picking grain as they walked through a field, breaking the Sabbath rules. Jesus then stirred up more problems by healing a man on the Sabbath. The synagogue leaders were furious at Jesus for not following customs and traditions created to protect the sacredness of the Sabbath. Jesus reminds them that the Sabbath, a day of rest, was created for us. The Sabbath is a time to remember God’s creating and liberating work in the world. The Pharisees were caught up in practicing the Sabbath and lost track of the purpose of the Sabbath. Their helpful traditions were getting in the way of them experiencing the blessing of the Sabbath.
Jesus’ practice and teaching on the Sabbath remind me, not only of the importance of taking a day of rest but also the importance of evaluating our religious traditions. We have the unique opportunity during this covid-19 season to reflect upon our lives and our life together as a church community. To protect the most vulnerable in our community we changed our lives over the last few months - stopped meeting in homes, avoided public gatherings, and moved our bible studies and worship services online. As some parts of our lives return to ‘normal’ in the coming months we have the opportunity to decide which commitments and practices we want to re-start and which we can let go of. Together as a church community we can evaluate our practices and meetings. Do our calendar of events and gatherings and practices help us to love God and to love our neighbors? Which traditions and customs bring us closer to God? Which meetings or prayers or ways of life are we doing just because we have always done it that way and we have forgotten the original intent? May the Holy Spirit help us discern during this season what to hold onto in our church and what to allow to lapse.
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
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.
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)