Blessings to you this week as we celebrate and remember those who have gone before us during Día de los Muertos and All Saints Day. This Sunday we will remember the loved ones we have lost but continue to carry with us. So, we invite you to bring something that reminds you of your loved one to worship with during the 11am service. A reminder for Elders and Deacons that there is a meeting after worship, this Sunday. Please be in touch with Rev. Richard or Janet Martin if you have any questions. This coming week will surely be one to remember. I hope you all vote, find time to reflect on all that is happening, and also take a moment to rest. I am praying for you all.
This week we are in my favorite book of the bible, Revelation. I talk about this book like the SNL character Stefon talks about New York City. This book has everything, strong women, dreams, fire, animals with six wings, a call for justice, a call to end imperial rule, dragons, everyone, and of course Jesus. It’s a book that has a lot going on. But one of my favorite things about it is its reminder that we will all come together again in this life or the next. In a year wrought with loss, I found this reminder comforting. I am not one who loves to sit in my grief, but when it’s presented as a way to commune together again, I find myself wanting to sit with it much longer than I normally do. How about you? See if you find comfort for this All Saints Sunday, in the words found in the book of Revelation.
“From the tribe of Simeon, 12,000; from the tribe of Levi, 12,000; from the tribe of Issachar, 12,000; from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000; from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000; and from the tribe of Benjamin, 12,000.
After that, I saw before me an immense crowd without number, from every nation, tribe, people and language. They stood in front of the throne and the Lamb, dressed in long white robes and holding palm branches. And they cried out in a loud voice,
“Salvation is of our God,
who sits on the throne,
and of the Lamb!”
All the angels who were encircling the throne, as well as the elders and the four living creatures, prostrated themselves before the throne. They worshiped God with these words: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen!” (Revelation 7:7-12)
What a gift this passage is for those of us who have lost someone we loved. This passage reminds us that we are connected to each other in this life and the next through Jesus Christ our Lord, and that we will gather together again in the kindom. I wear a ring every day that my Ema gave me before she passed. I wear it every day and only take it off to bake. It reminds me of all that she taught me, gave me, how fiercely she loved me, and how much I miss her. I remember her laugh and her hugs, her perfume and her jokes. And I can recall them all in theory, but this scripture helps me remember that one day again, I will get to experience them firsthand. That I will get to tell her stories of my adult life and reminisce about the past. And all of that is thanks to the love and grace of God.
Friends, who do you carry with you? Who informed who you are and inspires who you will become? Let’s remember them together this Sunday during our All Saints worship. I give thanks for all our Saints- past, present, and future.
A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, may I take in and make use of the wisdom of those gone before me. Amen
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from The Rev. Francesca Fortunato
Dear Park People,
On Sunday, October 25th, our Sunday school community read the Exodus story of Moses and the burning bush, using our Beginner’s Bible. We talked about the importance (and, sometimes, difficulty) of finding the courage to stand up for justice (as Moses did.) I also pointed out that Moses admitted to his fear and asked for help, which also took courage, and was good, in his case, because his brother, Aaron, was able to help him in the quest to liberate his people.
While drawing pictures of the burning bush, we talked about standing up for freedom, fairness, and kindness. Somehow (I didn’t raise the subject) our elections came up. Children know that this is an important event for their adults, and they also feel the sense of urgency around it. They are excited, and wish that they could vote, too. For me, it was an important reminder that we are teaching children, constantly, through our actions, attitudes, and the ways that we talk about what’s going on in the world.
On Sunday, November 1st, we (myself and the teachers, as well as the children) will wear our Halloween costumes to Sunday school. Not for any “teaching” reason, but, simply, because costumes are fun, and it will give our children the chance to share that fun with their Sunday school friends.
Our lesson will be from the book of Revelation (7:7-12) in which the angels sing praises to God. We’ll be using the Doring Kindersley Illustrated Children’s Bible for that one, because that particular translation, and the accompanying illustrations, make the poetic qualities of Revelation fairly accessible for children. We’ll be talking about angels (where they appear in the Bible, what their missions and messages seem to be about; what other things we’ve heard about angels.) For our creative response, the children will make cut-out paper angels, which might end up appearing on some Christmas trees, a few weeks later...
Seeking peace, freedom, justice-with-mercy, joy, and celebration in these dazzling days, and thankful to be in it with the children...
Blessings and well wishes as always,
Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.