March 20, 2018

March 20, 2018

Easter Bunny Coming to St. Mark’s!

It’s that time again! The Easter Bunny will be making his annual appearance at St. Mark’s on Saturday, March 31, from 9 to 11 a.m.  All are invited for an egg-cellent time which includes: an egg hunt, cake walk, face-painting, egg decorating, hula hooping, and some other egg-citing things!  Please come out and be sure to invite your friends and family to this kid friendly event!

Holy Week 2018

Palm/Passion Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

We celebrate with 250 youth and adults on mission from Rolling Hills Christian Church in Northern CA. Procession of palms with children.

Holy Thursday 6:30 p.m.

A service of communion remembering the Last Supper which will move into Tenebrae, the service of growing darkness.

Good Friday1 p.m.

A service of quiet meditation on the crucifixion.

Easter, 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

A celebration of the resurrection with brass, bells, choir, and holy communion.

February 28, 2018

February 28, 2018

February 27, 2018

Dear Friends,

At some point, we have to take that step of faith and just do it, whether we think we can or not, whether we are afraid or not, whether we think it might kill us or not. The good news is that we don’t have to be
perfect, and we don’t have to work the program alone. God promises to be with us in our journey.

This is a perfect summary of where we are in the third week of Lent.  Of course, it’s a quote from the United Methodist website, so one might expect it to be at least in the vicinity of a good explanation.

(By the way, I considered giving up my sense of humor for Lent, but a friend responded by suggesting that since I don’t have much of a sense of humor, perhaps it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.)

This Sunday brings us four of the most-compelling Biblical readings of the year:

  • Exodus 20:1-17: the Ten Commandments, which begins “I am the LORD your God, you shall have no other gods before me.”
  • Psalm 19, which begins “The heavens are telling the glory of God….”;
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, which
    begins “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”;
  • John 2:13-22, which tells the story of Jesus driving the money changers and their sacrificial animals from the temple courtyard.

We’re just far enough into Lent that those of us who have taken on the discipline of “giving up” something every day, or have made a shift in our daily routine – such as adding a time of meditation or reflection – are now wondering whether we can make it until Easter.  We need a little support, a little encouragement, a little help.

All the readings for Sunday point to the central message of the Lenten season: the only way our lives begin to take on real meaning is when we can get over ourselves:

  • When we can start to get over our need to create ideas and principles to venerate, and focus instead on the grace of God.
  • When we can start to get over believing that we are the greatest thing in the universe, and embrace that something is going on that is much bigger then we are.
  • When we can start to get over our need to control, and begin instead to trust that love will lead us home.
  • When we can start to resist all the ways the best impulses of our hearts are constantly corrupted and

I hope to see you in church on this third Sunday in Lent, the season of self-inventory.  We will share the sacrament of communion and receive new members.


February 21, 2018

February 21, 2018

January 2, 2018

Still have the Christmas Spirit?  We are deep into the twelve days of Christmas, which continue through Epiphany on January 6, which is actually the thirteenth day if you count Christmas as the first day of Christmas.  Epiphany is a festival day when we celebrate the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem.  It’s when the whole world got the news that Jesus was born.

As we now understand and accept, many Christmas practices came out of other traditions.  Sometimes from liturgical considerations, but more-often from simple calendar convenience, government edict, or because they were fun, Christianity absorbed and adapted a variety of practices, such as those related to the winter solstice.

In our world, Christmas is over.  All the half-price Christmas merchandise in the store is looking pretty picked over.  Right about now is when we look at the Christmas tree and say, “I guess we can keep it up for a few more days.”  Someone told me last week about the year their Christmas tree stayed up the entire year.  Has this happened to you?

It’s not a bad idea, really.  I mean, we do lament the passing of the Christmas Spirit when the holiday ends.  If keeping the tree up in any way keeps us mindful of the Christmas Spirit, that’s a good thing.

Culturally there is great resistance to remembering Christmas beyond the day itself.  All the carols just stop.  (Of course, in some cases the carols started two months ago.  This brings up the necessity of restoring sanity.)  Try this: say “Merry Christmas” to everyone you meet today.  See how that goes.

People may think you’re odd, or a little crazy.

But that’s really the point, isn’t it?

See you in church!  We will continue our Christmas celebration with a potluck lunch afterward.  The magi have been invited.  If you can, bring a dish to share, or a few dollars to contribute.  Whatever the case, plan to be here!


January 2, 2018

January 2, 2018

December 18, 2017

December 18, 2017

December 14, 2017

While this is supposed to be a season filled with joy, we may stumble into this question: How bad can things get?

I suppose we all ask ourselves this question every once in a while.  It especially happens when a series of things go wrong.  You wake up not feeling well.  The toilet gets clogged and overflows.  Then your son calls and is in a financial bind.  Then you get in your car to drive to work, and one of the tires is flat.  You realize you are feeling really terrible.  Your phone rings again.  It’s your dentist, reminding you about your appointment tomorrow!

We’ve all had days like this.  The details may be different, but the mounting, cumulative troubles are not.  That’s why we can relate to Psalm 126:

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

This Psalm was written in response to the Babylonian Exile, when the Israelites were essentially indentured to their captors.  It’s not hard to imagine them working in those foreign fields, losing hope, and beginning to weep.

Yet the time for reaping comes, and there are shouts of joy!  Something has happened, and it must be something big.  The people have become “like those who dream” whose “mouth was filled with laughter.”

Something has happened.  Something is happening!

No matter how bad things might get, hang in there.  I’ll see you in church.