I continue to embrace and revel in the love and excitement present as we gathered in person for the first time in two years. I am equally as grateful for the continued participation of our online community. Those of you who still call into (and are patient with) our tech glitches and how to look at the camera –I am so grateful to be in community with you. We know we took a while to get here, and things are still so uncertain, but please know your safety continues to be a top priority and we take our call to be good stewards of communal health very seriously. Many have asked and yes, vaccine cards and masks are still required to join for in person worship. If you have any questions about this, please do reach out. However, we can’t wait to be in community with you again this Sunday no matter how you join us.
This week’s scripture comes from the book of Luke and tells the story of the Resurrected Christ making himself known to his followers through a walk and a shared meal. One of my favorite things to do on holidays is to go for a long walk with those gathered. It is usually because we have found ourselves contently stuffed with a potluck of incredible food and the need to move our bodies feels almost like a demand rather than a desire. So, we gather and stroll and talk about all that the day held and all that we hope will come. That walk has become a sacred extension of our time shared at the table for my friends and family. Do you do something like that for holidays? Maybe you have another tradition like play a board game or read a book. I’d love to hear about it. For us, once we walk, we generally sit back down for dessert. My family has an unparalleled sweet tooth, so the after-walk dessert feast is always a family favorite. And while I would not necessarily call breaking the bread of communion a dessert – the grace that is ever present at the table of our Lord sure is sweet. So, let's come back to the table of our Lord and be amazed at the Resurrected Christ once more with this week’s passage from Luke 24. As always there are reflection questions following the passage.
26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things to enter into his glory?” 27 And starting from Moses and from all the prophets, Jesus interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 When they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 So they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is nearly over.” Then he went in to stay with them. 30 When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from before them. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the way, while he was opening up the scriptures to us?” 33 Now that same hour they rose up and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and others with them gathered together. 34 They were saying, “Really! The Savior has risen, and has appeared to Simon!”
Luke 24:26-34 (Year W)
Why do you think the table/communion continues to be important to our faith?
If you were an early disciple, what would be a challenge to you in seeing the resurrected Christ? What would be easy for you?
What would be a challenge before you in seeing Christ now? What would be easy?
Is the testimony of the disciples helpful for Jesus in convincing them he has returned? Why do you think that is?
What does this passage offer us about community and grief?
I hope that you all continue to be fed in body and spirit this week and that the hope that accompanies the risen Christ is with you this day and always.
Simple Prayer: O God, I see you. Amen
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
Easter Sunday, the 10:30am (3rd grade or younger) group dived deep into the illustrative account of "The Empty Tomb” in The Sparks Story Bible--- where we chatted about the women that were messengers of Jesus’ resurrection and the significance of showing up. The 10:00am (4th grade or older) gathering explored John 20:1-2, 11-18, where we had a fruitful conversation about the intimate conversation between Mary and Jesus—as we found it amusing Mary didn’t recognize Jesus and how significant transformation can be in one’s life--- more importantly, how do we sense we are transforming.
This Sunday, the 10 am (4th grade or older) youth will explore The Book of Luke 13. The 10:30am (3rd grade or younger) children will explore, “The Road to Emmaus” in The Sparks Story Bible.
It's Springtime. There's more daylight. And things are about to sprout! After nearly three years, Bonita Jackson is finally returning to a stage (in a play that she's written)!!! You are cordially invited to This Soil, These Seeds…
Come experience this play which is filled with healing, growth, dirt, and roots! Directed by Alex Randrup, This Soil, These Seeds… is infused with movement, poetry, and original music composed and played live by Kristin Vining.
🌿Synopsis: A drama therapist journeys to uncover the roots of three strangers whose mother-daughter issues are buried deeper than seeds under soil. But the strangers find themselves in an unexpected multigenerational family intervention.
🌿Remaining Dates and Times:
April 21st - 23rd* @ 7:30PM
April 28th - 30th @ 7:30PM
*April 23rd - matinee @ 2:30PM and evening @ 7:30PM
🌿Tickets (Click here to purchase tickets):
The ticket cost to see This Soil, These Seeds... is $39. If you need a discount, please email email@example.com she will see what she can do. There is a cheaper ticket which is attached to Super Secret Arts (SSA) pretty cool membership model. For $25, members can see any and every show at SSA for the month of April (including This Soil, These Seeds...). The membership can be canceled.
SAVE THE DATE
Hosted by The Rev. Kaji Douša:
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.