My summer cold seems to be clearing up finally. It is a good thing that Pastor Gregory was scheduled to preach last Sunday. Thanks to him for his timely sermon and for the liturgy. Thanks to Anthia Lee Halfmann who played the piano for the service while Jan was away visiting family. Her playing added a lovely tone to our worship. We had several people on the road and we had several visitors. On the whole, it was a good day.
We continue to journey this week with those who seek refuge. Our texts ask the challenging and important question, “What does God require?” More specifically, what does God require of us as people of faith in a time and place fraught with so much violence and hatred. What does it mean for us to be God’s people in this context and how do we show that we are God’s people?
In the “In the World” section this week, I have reprinted a powerful reflection by Emilie Townes, womanist, ethicist, Baptist, lesbian, dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School. I urge you to read this through, Emilie suggests that “We do not love ourselves. We have become cavalier with each other’s lives and we, as a nation, have not yet decided that we have reached the point where we will now practice willful and strategic eradication of the complex character that makes us an unloving society.”
What would move us, as God’s people, to work toward reversing this sad state of affairs, to help us become a more loving society? The writer of 1 Peter says, “8Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received” (1 Peter 4:8-10). Can we, will we, maintain constant love, be hospitable, serve one another with manifold of grace of God? Challenging questions for challenging times. Let’s consider them together.
I also hope you are giving serious consideration to attending our All Church Retreat the end of the month. My good friend, Daniel Pryfogle, who is an expert in sharing and building from story will be leading us. You will find Daniel to be a delightful story teller and guide. Friday and Sunday we will be here in our own building, but the Saturday sessions will be held at Valley Presbyterian Church, tucked away in a redwood grove in Portola Valley. Lunch will be provided at nominal cost and we will arrange to carpool to and from FBCPA on Saturday. Please plan to be a part of this opportunity to build our community through sharing our own very important stories.
Meanwhile, I’ll see you Sunday at 10 AM. Bring someone with you to share the day.
Together, let us strive…to know God’s love!