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Turn Aside//June 9

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3.1-8 NRSV)

During these turbulent and important times I continue to circle back to this foundational story from Exodus. This story shows us God’s character and how we can respond to God’s call. I am struck by the fact that the bush was burning all the time but Moses had to ‘turn aside’ in order to see what was happening. I imagine him leading his sheep by this bush each week but he didn’t take the time to investigate the burning bush. Many of us are having our eyes opened wider to pain and hurt and injustice through the murder of George Floyd and ongoing impacts of covid-19 pandemic. As we ‘turn aside’ to see, listen, and have our hearts broken – remember who speaks from the burning bush - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Expect in these times that God is ready to speak but waiting to see if we will turn and listen. As we listen to the pain and grief of our black sisters and brothers, God will use their truth and cries to guide us in faithful actions. God hears the cries of the enslaved Hebrew people, God knows their suffering, and God is seeking their liberation. God’s redemption is coming and God invites Moses to join in this redemption work. We follow a God of redemption, a God of liberation who is always inviting us to participate in this life-giving work. As we listen to the cries and anger and grief around us, let us expect to hear our liberating God, inviting us to join God’s redemptive work.


  1. 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.

  2. Check out our new website – Great place to find these letters, request prayer, and donate online if you desire.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.)

  6. 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 if that is easier for you.)

Connecting with God

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. As we listen and learn and take further steps against racial injustice – we are going to be reading/discussing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Between the World and me.’ Reach out to Pastor Matt to join, we will drop the book on your doorstep.

  2. 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,

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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