The Sacred Work of Listening//June 2
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
“12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12.12 – 15 (NRSV)
There is deep wisdom in these exhortations from Paul to the Christians living in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. We could spend weeks studying and imagining how to live these words today. The final phrase ‘weep with those who weep’ seems especially appropriate as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus this week. Our newspapers and social media feeds and streets are filled with voices of those who are angry and weary and grieving. Paul is inviting us into the way of Jesus - Jesus came close to Mary and Martha following the death of their brother Lazarus and he was moved to tears by their grief and the loss of his friend. Jesus came close to the pain, listened, allowed their pain to become his pain and wept with them. This is one of our callings and a good first step at this time – to listen to the cries of pain and grief and anger – from black friends, neighbors, fellow church members, and across our nation. Dr. King spoke often about two Americas – a black one and a white one - highlighting the differences of experience, life, and opportunities. Unfortunately, American is more racially segregated now than during Dr. King’s life, and the reality of different lived experiences between white and black Americans continues. If we are going to follow in Jesus’ footsteps we must bridge across racial difference and listen to those different from ourselves. We must listen longer than feels comfortable, listen for understanding, allow others’ experiences to enter deep into our hearts. As Christians it is sacred work to bridge these two Americas and as we listen, really listen, our hearts will break and we will weep with those who weep.
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.
Check out our new website – yvpres.org. Great place to find these letters, request prayer, and donate online if you desire.
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. Take a risk and pray for each other over the phone.
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 Saliki 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
Tom Prinz is writing a series of articles using his years of counseling wisdom to help us grow through the pandemic rather than just survive. If you would like to receive further installments of these articles – please contact Tom at (805) 807 – 3727 and he would be overjoyed to send them to you.
Need books for reflection and learning? I have many books on Christian living, ethics, the bible, faithful practices in the world that I am happy to lend out. Let me know what you are interested in or I can make some suggestions.
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
Washing hands, practicing social distancing, and if able, only leaving our homes for essential needs to help protect the most vulnerable members of our community.
Please fill out your 2020 Census information if you have not already. This information helps our elected officials to plan and help our neighbors.
Deacon’s Food Closet – Was emptied out to help neighbors. If you are at the store please buy dried beans, white rice, cereal, spaghetti, cooking oil, and tuna to help us restock and help others.
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)