Messenger 5.21.19

5.21.19

From the Pastor 5.21.19

For this upcoming Sunday, we have two lectionary readings that focus on the power of the holy spirit. It is timely that these two readings should be placed here considering that we are now in the Easter season. Jesus has been crucified and resurrected but not with us in the same way that he was
before his crucifixion. The role of the Holy Spirit then, becomes much more prominent as it is Jesus’ presence continually with us. 

Those of us who have attended church for any significant amount of time in our lives knows that the Holy Spirit is always with us and ready to guide us whenever we need her (or even when we don’t call out for her!). But how much do we actually sense her presence and try to connect with her? How often do we consult with her on major life decisions, broken hearts, or just in mundane everyday life moments? I confess that I don’t seek her out very much and I need to remind myself continually of her presence and readiness to help me in my life. I also admit that when I do seek her out, her help is unbelievable. 

Come out this Sunday to reflect upon together how we can invite the Holy Spirit to participate in our lives more and more. 

In This Together, 
Rev. Lydia 

From the Pastor 5.15.19

“When youth departs, may wisdom be enough.”  —Winston Churchill

“Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state….The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.”

—David Whyte

Vulnerability has a high profile right now, largely thanks to the probing work of social scientist Brené Brown, who now has a very popular special on Netflix.  There are so many trendy lifestyle concepts and buzzwords that circulate these days, it is tempting to include “vulnerability” among them.  I think the word may grow or decline in popularity, in both general usage and among management consultants—so many words and phrases become part of consultant-speak and then fade away.

Whatever happens to use or understanding of the word, vulnerability has always been and will always be “the underlying, ever present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state,” as David Whyte says.  As Christians, our project of moving toward perfection does not mean refining our ideas and options.  It means more-fully inhabiting our essential, vulnerable selves.

Our culture is biased against vulnerability, which is seen as a weakness.  It is not okay to show vulnerability except in specific circumstances, such as right after a loved one has died, or when the news is covering tragic killings or a natural disaster.  In cases like this, some outward vulnerability is sanctioned for a short while and then our expectation becomes stoicism, healing, and redemption. 

Megan Devine says something about grief in “It’s OK That You’re Not OK” that also applies to vulnerability:  “We’ve got this idea that there are only two options in grief: you’re either going to be stuck in your pain, doomed to spend the rest of your life rocking in a corner in your basement wearing sackcloth, or you’re going to triumph over grief, be transformed, and come back even better than before.”

If these are our only two options, it’s understandable that we see vulnerability as the exception and not the rule of our lives.  Instead of enriching our lives by working to inhabit our vulnerability, we continue to inhabit the comfortable home we’ve built among our ideas and opinions.  But there is another way.

See you in church!

Craig

Messenger 5.14.19

5.14.19

Messenger 5.7.19

5.7.19

Messenger 4.30.19

4.30.19

Messenger 4.23.19

4.23.19

From the Pastor 5-7-19

Happy Mother’s Day week. 

Now, I am very aware that not everybody has the best association with Mother’s Day. Some of us have great relationships with and good memories of our mothers. Some of us do not.

This upcoming Sunday, while I will be sharing a little bit of my experiences with my own mother and as a mother myself, I will mostly be sharing about how my relationship with God transformed once I experienced God as my
ultimate mother. 

While we mostly refer to God as he and male figures such as father, King, etc., it’s crazy to learn about the countless feminine descriptions of God in the Bible. As we explore those, it will change how you relate to God and that change will bring you so much closer to our loving, Mother God.

I hope to celebrate with you this Sunday. 

Much love,

Rev. Lydia

From the Pastor 4.30.19

This has been an extraordinary season in California.  Last fall and winter, so much of our state got so much rain—in some areas it was the most in 20 years.  There were floods in some places, and some people lost their homes or sustained significant damage to their property.  It was tragic to witness this.

In March it was announced that we are officially free of drought, after more than seven consecutive years of not enough water.  It’s been so dry for so long, it’s a little hard to adjust.  I still have the buckets I bought to capture water from our very short showers so I could water plants.  And I remember flushing the toilets every third time we used them.  I can’t seem to escape that memory!

A few weeks ago I was in central California driving through the Santa Lucia Mountains near the coast.  I stopped at a turnout that was about 2,500 feet above sea level.  It’s hard to describe the view west from that spot on that day.  It was clear, and there were miles of bright-green mountain ridges and canyons leading down to the sea.  It looked liked pictures I’ve seen of Ireland.  So many shades of green.  And there were blooms in waves everywhere I looked—yellow, orange, and some purple.

I had seen these mountains before from this same spot, and it had never looked like this before.  The normal colors are variants of brown.  Pretty much for months and years on end.

It was a startling change, which sticks with me.  For so long I was used to seeing brown or (in the spring) greenish-brown, it’s almost like I was in a different place.  But I was reminded that there is so much new life in what looks almost dead.  All it needs is some water.

One of the biggest challenges of this life is to accept the reality that, if you have love in your life, you will also have grief.  It’s not a problem to be solved or a disease to be healed.  It is part of the package when we love someone.  Whether we like it or not, or know it or not, all of us who seek love in our lives will face grief.

For three weeks starting Monday, May 6, I’ll be leading a conversation based on Megan Devine’s book It’s OK That You’re Not OK.  In it she says, “The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside.  There is pain in this world you can’t be cheered out of….  Some things cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried.”

When someone you love is grieving, how can you help them?  If I am grieving, how can I understand the help I need?  As I ask myself these questions, I find that in addition to coming up with ways to help others and myself, I find that life becomes a little richer and more-fulfilled.  It’s only natural, because if I’m more attentive to my grief I am likewise more attentive to the love in my life.

By the way, the Monday conversations will be from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in the New Room.  All are invited.  Books are available through the office, or directly from Amazon.  For the first meeting, please read the introduction and part one of the book.

See you in church!

Craig

St. Mark’s Nursery School & The San Diego Padres – Celebrating 50 Year Anniversaries!

Anita can be reached at anita.hill@stmarksnurseryschool.com or 858-273-1489