Sunday Morning Prayer Group / Grupo de oración dominical 10.50 am
Sunday Worship Celebration with / Culto de adoración dominical con The Rev. Kaji Douša 11:00 am
Where Does God Go?
This week we have the unique opportunity to vote not only in the midterm elections but also in the life of the church! Our annual congregational meeting is this Sunday and will start at 10:30 am. We hope you can join us as we vote on our 2019 Budget and offer prayers for the ministry we are called to do this year. After worship, we have a full afternoon of incredible ministry; Yass, Soulfood Fellowship, and Thanksgiving and Receiving. This is a Sunday that you won’t want to miss.
I woke up this morning to the news that another mass shooting had taken place. This time in Thousand Oaks, CA. Another story where the lives of God’s children had been cut short - taken from them without any warning. I woke up to the news and prayed “How long O Lord?” as I wept. Tragedy can be a source of doubt in our faith lives. Hard times can make people wonder where God is and why God let this happen. Today is no exception. So, I went back and read last week’s scripture and reminded myself that in these times of great grief, Jesus weeps with us. Jesus hasn’t stopped weeping as we continue to live through the pain of losing people we love, and work through the fear and challenges of what comes next.
Then I came to this week’s scripture. I was interested in what it may have to say to our community in this time of grief for the lives lost, but also in a time of joy that more women than ever have been elected to office in our nation. And I don’t’ know why I am still surprised when the Spirit brings about a word that perfectly fits our current lives, but I was so thankful that in this week’s scripture I was reminded of the steadfast ways God loves us. Read these verses from the Book of Ruth and see how God is at work in their lives.
“16 But Ruth said to her, “Please don’t ask me to leave you and turn away from your company. I swear to you:17 Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge.
Your people will be my people,
and your God, my God.”
Ruth’s commitment to Naomi, is God’s commitment to us. We are made in God’s image and reflect the very commitments from God in our very creation. So, when in times of joy or sorrow, when we show up for each other, we show up with God. God shows up in our prayers, our covenants with each other, and in the communities we build. But God showing up, just means that we have noticed God’s presence, because as this week’s scripture reminds us, God actually isn’t “showing up”- God is always with us.
Friends, In the good and the bad, the hope and the challenges, God is with us. God can take our doubt that comes in times of pain and love us through it. God is with us as we celebrate victories of Justice. Because we serve a God that is faithful, patient, and forever present.
A short prayer for your week:Holy One, where I go, you are there. Where I hope, you dream too. Where I am doubtful, you are holding me close. In this world that goes between times of uncertainty, great joy and everything in between, may I be the same source of presence for others in this world. Amen.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
Dear Park People,
On Sunday November 4th, the Park Sunday school children read John 11:32-35; then discussed the meaning of the verse “Jesus Wept” (why? For whom? With whom?.) Then, thinking about the reasons that Jesus might weep, with people and for people, today, they wrote poems and essays (some with illustration) using “Jesus Wept” as a title and writing prompt. Among the reasons that children came up with, for Jesus weeping, were homelessness, illness, bereavement, and destruction of the environment (expressed in their own, more imaginative and evocative words.) I know that some children also stayed after service for the Dia de Los Muertes celebrations, led by Rev. Jeanette. I’ll look forward to hearing all about it, when I see them next week!
On Sunday, November 11th, the Park Sunday School children will begin their two-week study of The Book of Ruth, focusing, first, on the Ruth and Naomi story. Discussion will be about the people in our lives, who form our “family circles” and “circles of friends.” As a creative response, the children will make prayer bracelets, with the beads representing the many people in their circles, as a reminder to pray for everyone they love.
After service, we will have our Thanks-Giving-and-Receiving swap meet party. My hope is that many children, parents, extended families, friends and neighbors will participate in this time of joyful sharing, socializing, and playful Christian fellowship!
Blessings, well wishes, and high hopes!
Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister