I have to say: the Holy Spirit DID SOMETHING in church on Sunday! I don’t know about you, but I felt the presence of God in a way I hadn’t in quite some time. I’d encourage you to set aside some time to experience the whole service, if you haven’t already. We tried a new prayer practice to focus our intentions as we encountered the Word and…God did something!
For our next 2 worship experiences, we will examine a couple of aspects of Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples after his resurrection, in John 21.
The first week, we’ll look at the end of the story, and the second week, we’ll look at the beginning. I’ve decided to do this because I think so much about what Jesus is doing in the latter part of the story informs what he was doing in the former.
As you prepare, I’d encourage you to note (I mean, write down!) the aspects of the story that are curious or surprising. Here’s an example: what’s going on with Peter’s clothes? Don’t worry about answering the question (though I’m curious what you might come up with) but do note if it seems a little…curious. There might be other parts to this text that make you say: hmm. Linger there for a moment and see what God might have to say about it.
This week’s text is John 21: 15-19*. I’m going to spend some time working through concerns of guilt and shame in this text. So you might want to think about what role guilt and shame play in your life. We’ll try to make some connections and plunge into the healing Jesus offers here.
Next week, we’ll circle back to the earlier part of the story in John 21: 1-14.
Come with your questions and get ready to dive in to these incredible texts!
*Scripture: John 21:15-19 (ILB):
15 When they had eaten their meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon ben-John, do you love me more than these?”
Peter said, “Yes, Rabbi, you know that I’m your friend.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time Jesus put the question, “Simon ben-John, do you love me?”
Peter said, “Yes, Rabbi, you know that I’m your friend.”
Jesus replied, “Tend my sheep.” 17 A third time Jesus asked him, “Simon ben-John, do you love me as a friend would?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” a third time. So he said, “You know everything, Rabbi. You know that I am your friend.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 The truth of the matter is,
when you were young,
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you get old,
you will stretch out your hands
and someone else will put a belt around you
and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 With these words, Jesus indicated the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
Then the savior said, “Follow me.”
RETURNING TO IN-PERSON WORSHIP
Dear Beloved Park Family,
We are so excited to start gathering back in person after 2 years apart!
These past few years have been challenging in so many ways and yet we proved time and time again that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
First, we want to say a huge thank you to those that made the digital worship experiences possible over the last few years. The time, talent, patience, and courage it took from each of you to create, lead, and worship in this new way was and continues to be inspiring. If this new way of worship was a helpful way for you to gain access to our community and our ministries, do not worry – our online access to all our ministries is not going anywhere. Going forward, our plan is for all ministries and experiences to be accessible to everyone both in person and online.
Meanwhile, many of us long to be together in person. Leadership has dedicated months to discern and make decisions to get us to this point.
Here are the church’s expectations for how we will spend our time together in person. In person, we will:
Be fully vaccinated (if eligible) and show proof of vaccination every time we enter the building.
Respect social distancing standards.
Share our love and excitement through words and not physical touch.
Always wear a mask over the nose and mouth, unless otherwise instructed.
Understand that these expectations will be implemented with the possibility of removal in cases where guidelines are not met.
We are still an active construction site and will not go into restricted areas for my own safety.
We do not have main floor accessible bathrooms. Using the bathrooms will require a staff member to accompany me because of the construction.
It is 100% okay if I am not ready to come back yet. I am loved just the same.
We have been apart for two years, we have changed and grown in so many ways and will refrain from commenting on physical looks and emotional tenderness.
We will continue to evaluate the best practices for the health and safety of our community and will be updated as things change.
We look forward to seeing you in person as you feel ready. We are so grateful to share in the love of God with each of you.
Pastor Kaji and Rev. Stephanie
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Nordia Bennett, Children’s Minister
Last Sunday, the 10 am (4th grade or older) youth read Luke 13:10-17, exploring the narrative of Jesus Healing on the Sabbath. We had a fulfilling conversation about how we sometimes stop ourselves from pursuing our hearts' desires. How can we begin to embrace authenticity? The 10:30 am (3rd grade or younger) children explored “The Great Commission” in The Sparks Story Bible, where we discussed the significance of power, who has power, how is power used and different modes of power. We played the “Simon Says” game to illustrate the concept of “power” and the youth realized that some of their peers had more “Simon says” than others.
Next Sunday, the 10 am (4th grade or older) youth will learn the narrative of the "Parable of the Mustard Seed” in Luke 13:18-19. The 10:30 am (3rd grade or younger) children will explore “The Ascension” in The Sparks Story Bible.
Join Pastor Kaji & The Park at Lincoln Center in celebrating the musical genius of Greg Tate at:
Gregory Stephen Ionman Tate (1957-2021) was a giant of Black radical thought and creativity, and a conductor of incandescent, community-driven music. Tate's body of writing as an influential critic would be enough to enshrine him as a cultural icon, but he is equally important to a generation of musicians as both the co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the complete creative freedom of Black artists; and the creator of Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, a sprawling, omnivorous, and outrageously accomplished improv collective. Under his co-leadership, BSAC has issued more than 20 releases in its two-decade history, featuring a cavalcade of virtuoso musicians. Tate's sudden passing in December 2021 was a blow to his many loved ones, friends, collaborators, and admirers around the globe. For this homecoming concert, curated and presented with The Tate Family at one of his favorite venues, more than thirty BSAC members will perform in celebration and tribute to one of the most essential voices in the history of 21st Century Avant Groidd music and thought.