I am so thankful for another week with each of you. We are doing some incredible work together at The Park and people are taking notice. Pastor Kaji’s sermons have been featured in The Washington Post and Sojourners, letting people around the world know that the work of Christ is alive and thriving within our community.
This week we are in the book of Job. I have to be honest, it is my least favorite book in the bible. (Come to the next ‘But What About: A Bible Study’ to find out why). But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have incredible things to teach us. One of my favorite parts of the book of Job, a book about the adversities of life and what it means to have steadfast faith, is in our scripture from today. Read and see what God has to teach us in this text using Job and his family.
“1:1 Once upon a time, In the land of Uz, there lived a man named Job. Job was honest and upright, revered God and turned away from evil.
“2:9 Job’s wife said to him, “So you’re still holding onto your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “Only foolish people talk like that. If we accept happiness from God, we should also accept adversity. Through all this, Job never sinned with his words.”
Job never sinned with his words…can you imagine? There are a lot of different interpretations of sin, what I am defining it as is, anything we do or say that distances us from God, and throughout my life I have definitely sinned with my words. And I don’t mean swearing, as my Ema would have considered it. I mean the hateful things I have said about myself when I don’t feel my best. I mean the hurtful things I hear said against my sisters and brothers who are LGBTQIA+. I mean the silence of people who support survivors but don’t want to cause a stir. Those words are all things we say that move us away from a God who is constantly reaching out. A God who is with us in the times of joy and in the times of sorrow. A God who listens to our words and watches our actions.
Job is one of those biblical figures that I feel deeply for. His friends, his words, his actions all seem so hard. But when I step back and look at his life, I realize that I keep him in prayer as I read his story. When we hold people in prayer, they are not alone. They are with us, and we are all with God. Un/consciously praying for people when I see or hear their story is a practice I do, and I think many of us do, that I first noticed when reading about Job. When I see the women marching in the street, I do not know them personally, but I pray for them so that they never feel alone. When I see a child kept from their parents, I hold them in prayer so that the love of God is with them in their loneliest moments. That is what Job teaches us.
Friends may our words never cause pain or draw us away from God. May we use them for good and love, especially when we hear words used for pain and division. And may we listen and believe the stories of others and hold them in prayer as we move forward in this world together.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
Dear Park People,
On Sunday September 30th, the Park Sunday school children read the Book of Esther, and discussed the ways that Haman’s harmful actions toward, Esther, Mordecai, and their community, had ultimately brought harm upon him. We talked about how being mean to other people makes us unhappy, in the long run. Then, we responded with dramatic play, by re-reading the story, in the tradition of the Jewish Megillah, with shouting and stomping of feet, every time Haman’s name was read. The children really had fun making all of that noise!
On Sunday October 7th, we will be reading Mark 10:13-16. As we examine the children’s Bible illustration of Jesus with children, we will imagine, and describe for each other, what it would be like to have Jesus hanging out with us, and our friends, in this time. What would Jesus wear? Where would Jesus meet us? What sort of activities would we do, with Jesus?
Following the discussion, the children will get those mental images of themselves and their friends spending time with Jesus, onto paper, making their own illustrations for the story.
Blessings, prayers, and well wishes as ever,
Rev. Francesca Fortunato, Director of Children’s Ministry
The First LatinX Gathering of 2018
We were blessed with everyone’s presence at the first LatinX Gathering of 2018. Very grateful to hear Jessica and Carmen shared their testimony with us in their struggle, en su lucha, to get reunited with Dylan their son and grandson, su hijo y nieto, after their separation at the border. Our prayers and actions are with you. Gracias! - The Rev. Jeanette Zaragoza