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Thanks, Help, Wow

The uncertainty of this season continues without an end in sight. It is easier to make it through a difficult situation when we know the date it will end. We know that a covid-19 vaccine will help to contain this global pandemic but we only have guesses to when we will have an effective vaccine. Uncertainty of the future can show up in our bodies in many ways – stress, depression, anxiety, and more.

Last week I was sitting in our backyard enjoying the calm at the end of the day. I suddenly had a strange feeling of disorientation. What is going on? Where are we? What is happening to us in the midst of this pandemic? When will this covid-19 season end? These questions were bombarding me like the bees surrounding the sunflowers in our garden. I would hold onto one question, trusting God’s peace and hope, when another question would pop into my head.

In the midst of this uncertain season, filled with feelings of disorientation we must lean into our spiritual practices of prayer, scripture reading, fasting, and supporting one another in community. We need to create intentional time to read our Common Prayer book, to lift up our voices in praise, and to sit in silence waiting for the peace and love of our God. Spiritual disciplines do not earn us favor with God but put us in the place to hear from God and be guided by God. The more uncertain the times, the more we need to turn to God in prayer.

One of my favorite ways to pray is to follow the wise words of Anne Lamott who said there are really just three types of prayer – Thanks, Help, and Wow. I like to include a fourth word ‘tears,’ which represents our own going practice of lament. I write down the words “thanks, help, wow, tears” on a piece of paper. I then write the names of people or places or situations next to each of these words, as the Spirit leads me to pray. Sometimes I write down many things I am thankful for before moving to the next word, other times I am jumping back and forth between thanks, help, wow, and tears. The act of writing down the prayers helps to fend off distractions and to ground us in these uncertain times. I included a sample sheet as an invitation to help you pray this week.


  1. Check out our new website – 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.

  2. 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.

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

  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. 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.)

  5. 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 if that is easier for you.

Connecting with God

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 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.

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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