Greetings, Sojourners, Peregrinators, Wayfarers, Adventurers, Family members, and Friends,
I know, I know, "beware the ides of March," but I am claiming the word "bold" today in order to send out this email blast, and will assume that nothing will go (tragically) wrong. After all, the first day of Spring is next Tue., March 20! Begone, O winter weather. And let us, with gladsome hearts, welcome spring ... with apologies to those who are allergic to something that is blooming.
The Scripture focus this week--Jer. 31:31-34--continues to explore the thick, multi-layered nature of God's covenant with us, and the significance of the covenantal relationship that we have with God in Christ, in which God's Spirit reminds us daily of this unique bond we have with God, and God with us. Indeed: God calls God's self a "husband" in this passage, which has a very different meaning when it was first uttered in a faraway land, and today's modern understanding of who and what a "husband" may be in a society that strives for gender equality and different contextual understandings of "husband" and "wife", e.g., a straight marriage, or a same-sex marriage. In hindsight, what a great theme for Lent: our covenantal relationship with God, which is born of God's imagination, God's creation, God's initiation, manifest in God's ongoing relation with us as God's pilgrim people. In his book, Company of Strangers, writer and friend Parker Palmer picks up on this theme of true covenant: it "means the acceptance of weighty obligations to a Lord who demands that we 'do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.' The church's acceptance of this true covenant would serve as a channel of reconciliation in a world in love with divisions....the church would proclaim not its mastery over the world but its servanthood--to God, to humankind, and to the vision of a peaceable kingdom". In Community of Pilgrims--in which service is key--we gain a better understanding of the covenantal relationship we have with God in Christ as we embrace the three-fold approach to the Christian life as pilgrims, based upon the Benedictine practice of ora et labora et lectio. This is roughly translated as "prayer and work or service and study of Scripture." Together, as a community of faith, we both live in a covenantal relationship with God, and live out that covenantal relationship publicly as we serve others in our daily living. This includes our writing campaign for cleaner air, sending of love with Valentine's Days bags to school children, and our support for gun control. And just think! We've only just begun as a new community of faith! What wonders God's Spirit has in store for us in the days and months and years to come!
As Community of Pilgrims, our calendar for the coming days and weeks is as follows:
* Saturday, March, 17, 2018: this from Jo Ann Tower: The kitchen at Outside In (where Lorinda & I volunteer each week) needs a thorough deep cleaning. I’m willing to spend a couple of hours there this Saturday, March 17, in the early afternoon & invite you to join me. We would have the entire kitchen to ourselves – no clients will be there. They will supply cleaning products. You may want to bring rubber gloves. If you are interested in helping this Saturday, please contact Jo Ann Tower firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-705-9791. Please contact Jo Ann for more information;
* Steering Team meeting, Thursday, March 22, 2018 at Jo Ann Tower's home, 7 pm.
* Sunday, March 25, 2018: A Palm Sunday Community-wide service project TBD!
* Thursday, March 29, 2018, 7 pm, Maundy Thursday Holy Communion at Ric and Jo Ann Tower's home;
* Friday, March 30, 2018, 6:00 pm, Portland Art Museum for our Good Friday project as we take in the stunning photographic Common Ground exhibit. $5 that night for those who are not members of Portland Art Museum, with dinner afterwards at a nearby restaurant. More on this exhibit: https://portlandartmuseum.org/exhibitions/common-ground/;
* Sunday, April 1, 2018: Easter sunrise (kind of) worship at Lorinda and Ray Moholt's home, with a potluck to follow! More TBA!
Prayer Concerns and Celebrations:
1. For Helene, Linda's granddaughter, who has been cast as a strolling minstrel in "Twelfth Night".
2. For Drew, Nina's son, who will move with his family to China where he will teach.
3. For Luke, Dayna, Obi, Olivia, and chicken and rooster who have all have made it safety to New Mexico.
4. For parents that they may have the resources to raise strong children in loving families.
5. For mothers and fathers who suffer from addictions and abuse and for the children in those families.
6. For Chuck's 23 year old grandson who got a job in Seattle.
7. For the thousands of people in East Ghouta, Syria, who are being bombed by Bashar al-Assad's government forces.
8. For possibilities of peace between North and South Korea and between our country and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
9. Traveling mercies for Ric and Jo Ann Tower and those traveling over Spring Break.
10. For Mr. Schaub who is improving in rehabilitation in Hillsboro.
11. For responsible resolution in the immigration crisis in our country. For permanent protection from deportation for the 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought into this country as children.
12. For Lorinda's sister, Blake, and her future well-being;
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayers...
Finally, a poem, Late Winter, by Eric Rosenbloom:
The groundhog hides before the sun
Like thoughts we cling to after dawn,
Their tender form yet ripe for day.
The groundhog in her burrow stays
Until the light is also warm
To nurture little cubs yet born.
The mind awakens to the sun
Like flies between the window panes
To buzz and slough the winter’s chill.
Enticing, so much light, and yet
It blinds and enervates
And sets again and leaves us cold.
New life begins in winter’s midst
But wary of the cheerful sun
The groundhog in her burrow stays.
Buen Camino, friends!
Pastor Brett and Pastor Chris