Dear Friends, Pilgrims, Wanderers, Sojourners, Seekers, and Inquirers,
Even though it is raining as I write this email blast, the promise of spring, with clocks springing forward by an hour on Sunday morning, and the forecast of days in the 60s, and almost 70, this weekend, is almost surreal, to say the least. Nevertheless, I greet you all in the name of Jesus Christ, the Pilgrim God.
The Scripture focus this coming Sunday is John 3:14-17, in which one of the most famous "bumper sticker" verses is located, "John 3:14", as seen in banners strewn around athletic bleachers, inked on the faces of football players, and bill boards beyond Ebbing, Missouri. Christians know the verse well because it is a straightforward expression of God's love for the world and promise of eternal life: "For God so loved the world..." When the Gospel writer John recorded these words, the small community of which he was a member of was facing fierce opposition. This is a community of faith that had to be reassured time and time again that it was going to be all right, that God loved and loves them, with clear evidence of such love as God giving the world God's only child, a parental sacrifice that challenges us, even to this very day. To quote biblical scholar Marilyn Salmon, "Any parent knows that the love for one's child is so great one might sacrifice oneself for a child. In this human experience we grasp God's self-giving love for us, giving us the incomparable gift of salvation, life forever through his beloved Son." Knowing that God loved and loves the world so much, how can we, too love the world, both humankind and creation? Might we take on the challenge of caring for the earth more in this season of Lent? Care for each other so that we work for the elimination of racism in the city of Portland? Or on this, International Women's Day, do we work towards gender equity in the work place, because "God so loved the world..."?
Our monthly calendar so far:
* Steering Team meeting on Thursday, March 22nd, at Towers home, time TBA;
* Our Holy Week is turning out to be fascinating:
Sunday, March 25: we are planning to be at Human Solutions, serving food this evening, which is also Palm Sunday, time and location TBA;
Thursday, March 29, we will gather at the Tower's home for Maundy Thursday worship, time TBA;
Friday, March 30, we will gather at the Portland Art Museum at 6:15 pm to view the moving photograph exhibit, Common Ground, with dinner together afterwards: https://portlandartmuseum.org/exhibitions/common-ground/;
Sunday, April 1, we will gather at Lorinda and Ray Moholt's home for Easter Sunrise or Morning worship, with a potluck following, time TBA;
One of the ways that we will grow as a new community of faith is through gossip. A reminder: the word "gossip" comes from the word "Gospel," the Good News. Word of mouth works! Text it to others. Tell our story as a hot news item!
Or share with others in your family and among your friends along with strangers that we meet on Sunday afternoons, 4-6 pm, in the Chapel of Rose City Park Presbyterian Church. Or you can also do the following: go to Facebook and "like" the Community of Pilgrims page, and then post whatever we have on our Facebook page on your personal page.
Or feel free to send people a link to our website, communityofpilgrims.com on another website community you are part of that you think people would be interested in our Fellowship.
Another cool thing to do is share news of our Fellowship where you are currently working as a volunteer or where you work. For example, at Outside In, all the front desk staff know that the reason that I am working as a volunteer on Wednesday mornings is because of my commitment to serve in the Portland area at a non-profit once a week as a member of Community of Pilgrims.
We will also look forward to spending an afternoon in the NE Hollywood area sharing and posting our flyers in various stores in the area some time in April. But let people know that we are more than a NE Portland Fellowship: let's make us a "destination" Fellowship, in which people from all around the Portland metro area are welcome to come and worship and serve with us.
I also am preparing to preach at various Presbyterian churches in the coming months, in the morning, and would like it if members of our Fellowship would join me, ready to be a speaker at an adult forum before or after worship, as well as to pass out literature about our Fellowship.
Finally, a poem for Lent, written by Madeleine L'Engle, who is the author of "A Wrinkle in Time," in which the movie version comes out tomorrow:
For Lent, 1966
It is my Lent to break my Lent
To eat when I would fast,
To know when slender strength is spent,
Take shelter from the blast
When I would run with wind and rain,
To sleep when I would watch,
It is my Lent to smile at pain
But not ignore its touch.
It is my Lent to listen well
When I would be alone,
To talk when I would rather dwell
In silence, turn from none
Who call on me to try to see
That what is truly meant
Is not my choice. If Christ's I'd be
It's thus I'll keep my Lent.
Pastors Brett & Chris