Dear Sojourners, Inquirers, Newcomers, Friends, and Family members,
Amid gray skies and wintry rains, the sun makes an appearance now and then, with clouds breaking away to show blue skies above. For that reminder of blue skies and sunshine, I am thankful.
In preparing for this week's sermon, the focus Scripture is Mark 1:21-28, in which Mark's Jesus reveals his first act of ministry among the people in an unexpected healing of a man with an "unclean spirit." As was true for most healing stories, the focus was not on the one healed per se, but on the one who is doing the healing, namely Jesus, and the source of this power, and that is very true in the case of this story. Not only did Jesus reveal the power of God within him to heal, but we read that as he taught in the synagogue in Capernaum, he taught a "new teaching--with authority." What was and is breaking in with the birth and presence of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit is a new social order, or rather a new social dimension. Georges Florovsky wrote, "from the very beginning Christianity was not primarily a 'doctrine,' but exactly a 'community.' There was not only a 'message' to be proclaimed and delivered, and 'Good News' to be declared. There was precisely a New Community, distinct and peculiar, in the process of growth and formation, to which members were called and recruited. Indeed,'fellowship' (koinonia) was the basic category of Christian existence." We, who are members of the Community of Pilgrims Presbyterian Fellowship, are but the latest evidence of God in Christ doing something new, as the Spirit is actively working through us to call each other and recruit others to join us in being this new fellowship of Christians as we continue to follow and listen and receive the Good News by the One who teaches "with authority."
As for the busy life of the Community of Pilgrims, the following is happening, following a kind-of calendar of events:
* Jo Ann Tower wrote to me about this opportunity! There is a free and open to the public gathering at the Oregon Jewish Museum in which Rabbi Rose and Yusuf will be speaking. The link to learn more about this is http://www.ojmche.org/events/special-events-2018-01-29-never-again-a-Jewish-response-to-the-rohingya-crisis. " Yusuf is one of the 600 Rohingya living in Portland. His story is inspiring. His clear leadership of his community is generous. He brought to the meeting another Rohingyan gentleman, whose wife, sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren are in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. They do not have enough food. They are in dire need of medical care, food, education and hope. These men were eager to learn that volunteers from Never Again Coalition want to help. He was interested that two of us are traveling to Washington, DC on Feb. 9th for the Lemkin Summit. Lemkin coined the word “genocide” at the time of the Holocaust. He wanted to join us there in our effort to speak to Oregon politicians on Capitol Hill to pass bills to help stop the “ethnic cleansing/ genocide”. Please save the date of Jan 29th 6:30 pm and join me as we learn more from Yusuf.
* Feb. 3rd from 10:30-12:30 is the walk in the historic Albina district of Portland: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hidden-history-of-albina-portlands-black-history-tickets-41887371255.
* Feb. 4th, we will meet from 4-6 pm at Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, 2828 SE Stephens St. Portland, OR 97214. We will be packing bags with Valentine's Day bags for an elementary school.
* Feb 20th: there is the 16th Annual Faith Labor Breakfast at St. Andrew's Catholic Church, 806 NE Alberta St., Portland, OR, sponsored by Portland Jobs with Justice. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
* Prayer celebrations and concerns: