I hope that you are all staying healthy and warm. I know we are all concerned with keeping our community healthy and safe and we are taking every precaution to keep us healthy. Prayers that we all continue to be well and that all God’s creation has the care they need this day and always.
This Sunday is a very special Sunday. We have Brian Silva from the National Equality Action Team (NEAT) coming to speak to us after worship. It is also a YASS Sunday and everyone 21+ is invited to join us after the NEAT conversation for food and fellowship at The Pony Bar. It will be a wonderful Sunday that you won’t want to miss.
I have had several family and friends visit me over the past few weeks. That is part of the deal of moving to New York, you are the place and the person that people go to when they come to visit. Luckily, I love it. I love to host people in my home, show them the sights, and see new things about my city through their eyes. This past week, my 2.5-year-old niece has been visiting and being 2 ft high, she is constantly seeing the city in ways that catch me off guard. As we walked through the streets she yells “look up, Auntie,” to show me a bird, a carving in the rock, or -her favorite- the moon. Look Up. With so many things that keep us looking down: a wandering mind, cracks in the pavement, our phones; sometimes, we forget to look up.
This week’s scripture is one that has me yelling at the apostles to “look up,” so, that they can see the good news for themselves. See what I am talking about in this week’s scripture from Matthew 17.
“Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain to be alone with them.
And before their eyes, Jesus was transfigured—his face becoming as dazzling as the sun and his clothes as radiant as light.
Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said, “Rabbi, how good that we are here! With your permission I will build three dwelling places here—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah!”
Peter was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them. Out of the cloud came a voice which said, “This is my Own, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. Listen!”
“Look Up, Apostles!” is what I want to yell. The same way my niece is calling me to look up and see something new. See the things that surround me on a daily basis in a new way. Look Up Peter, James, and John. See that Jesus is with you. See that God is speaking directly to you calling you to look up and see everything again- for the first time.
Friends, take a step outside and look up. Look at all that God is doing and showing you. Ask yourself what keeps your head down or what has this world told you that made you listen to it over the voice of God? Look up, beloveds. There is a new thing happening with you and God. God is changing your life and calling you to spiritually look up and face Jesus. Jesus who is transforming and shining in your very presence. Friends, God is right in front of you showing you the path you need to follow, and our church members are the apostles with you along the way. So now, all we have to do is look up.
A quick prayer for your week: God, help me to look up . Amen
Children and Youth Ministry Update
Dear Park People,
On Sunday, March 1st, the Park Sunday school children read Luke 4:1-13, in which Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan. We talked about temptation and power, in our own lives, and the challenges around following Jesus’ example; using our personal power to help others, and not take advantage of them. Examples from the children: “If you’re big and strong, protect smaller children; don’t bully them.” “If you have a lot of money or food, don’t keep it all; share with people who have less.”
For their creative response activity, the children used the phrase, “God gives me power to do good,” as a writing prompt. Older children used their power (knowledge) to help the younger ones spell the words that they wanted to write! Some of the children chose to illustrate their writing, while, for others, it was all about the words. Lots of beautifully diverse ways to express the Divine gift of helping, healing; loving power!
On Sunday, March 8th, continuing the theme of right use of power, the Sunday school children will read the Book of Esther. We will discuss the ways that Esther and Mordechai used their powers (intelligence, beauty; courage) not merely to benefit themselves, but to save their whole community. For their creative response activity, the children will do a dramatic reading of the Esther story, using percussion instruments for extra noise, at the places where Haman (BOO!) makes his appearances.
As March marches, on, may all of us experience the precious promise of Spring, the lengthening (spiritual growth) of Lent...and remember to set our clocks ahead on Saturday night, so we can get to church on time for the first Sunday of Daylight Saving
Blessings and well wishes as always,
Rev. Francesca Maria (Miriam): Children’s Minister
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