Newsletters

Sunday, August 30, 2020

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Dear St. Luke Community,

I am looking forward to being together with all of you this Sunday by Zoom. 

I’m also excited to welcome our guest preacher, Reverend Dvera Hadden, to preach the Good Word. Two years ago Rev Hadden and her family moved to Marin from Columbia, South Carolina. She and her husband have come to worship at St. Luke numerous times and Dvera has made her presence known and valued within the Presbytery. Along with occasional preaching, Dvera volunteers with local non-profit organizations. She is applying to the Diploma in Spiritual Direction program at University of Redlands Graduate School of Theology (home of former San Francisco Theological Seminary). Dvera and husband Curtis Ford, Jr live with their two high-school-age sons and three cats in Curt's childhood home in Mill Valley.  Their adult daughter lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

The scriptures that Dvera will be preaching on are two of my favorites: Exodus 3:1-15 and Romans 12:9-21. In the Exodus passage, God describes God’s self to Moses as the God of his ancestors, connecting the past to the present and the future. We know too well that none of us live in a bubble of time. Our past influences our present and our future. For example, my mother is present every time I prepare the same comfort food she prepared for me. When my children are sick they ask for the same pastina soup that my mother made for me and her mother made for her when she was sick. And while I haven’t asked, I’m willing to bet my great grandmother made the same soup for my grandmother.

God’s love is like that: connecting, nurturing and nourishing us always through all the people who have loved God before us. Those whom God entered into covenant with, all of those who have accepted the call of God, now live the message of the Gospel through love. And just in case we’re not sure how to do that, Paul’s letter to the Romans spells it out.

I am very excited to hear Dvera, to pray with all of you, to see Ben and Will get excited over the bear puppet, and more.

See you Sunday,

Nicole

Sunday, August 23, 2020

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Dear St. Luke Community,

On Wednesday morning we gathered for Bible Study with heavy hearts. The fires had burned overnight and a few of us could see the ashes, however small, accumulate on the ground. The air quality and ashes serve as a constant reminder that there are people very close to us facing challenges we hope to never face – those fleeing homes, those putting their lives at risk to fight the fires, those providing services and shelter all in the middle of a pandemic.

One of our Bible Study participants expressed the need for encouragement. We decided to search scripture and landed on one of my favorites from Philippians 4.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Each time I pray this passage, a different verse stands out. This time, it’s the end of verse 8: ”If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” There is so much to focus on that brings heaviness to the heart. But God is still bringing moments that are worthy of praise. 

I suppose the question is, can you allow yourselves to rejoice in them? Is it okay to be okay for a moment or an hour or two? Can we allow ourselves to rejoice in the grace of God when it comes our way, even as we pray that same grace would go to someone else? It would seem our scripture encourages us to do just that.

See you Sunday,
Nicole

Posted by Nicole Trotter with

Sunday, August 16, 2020

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Dear St. Luke Community,

This week’s lectionary includes a Psalm that is only three verses long – Psalm 133. And it begins with, "How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”

Unity is an interesting word and concept. It’s what we strive for when we imagine God’s kingdom. But sometimes the idea of being “one” is turned into a kind of homogeneity reducing us to being all the same.

On the one hand, being one is a beautiful as reflected in scripture: 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28) .

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one (John 17).

On the other hand, seeing all God’s children as one and the same can diminish the unique experiences that diverse people have within the same town. Our cultural experiences, our religious backgrounds, and our race (a social construct) each brings unique experiences which does not always provide equal treatment. In God’s eyes we are one; but that doesn’t mean we are all experiencing God’s justice equally as one.

How can we strive towards being one and at the same time respect our differences and diversity? Our country is far from unified as the gap between the have and have nots continues to grow. Relations between political groups and those who support or do not support movements grow. Unity is running scarce even within Christianity, and even within our own denomination you would be hard pressed to find two churches who are unified in their belief systems. 

So what does God call us to do when we enter into covenant with God at baptism? How do we makes sense of our role as Christians when it comes to living as kin with all of God’s people in unity without diminishing the experience of those who are crying out for justice? And if we are to love one another, what does that look like when you cannot stand the belief system of the person who sits next to you at dinner or in the pews?

One small Psalm, lots of big questions.  Thanks be to God.

See you Sunday,

Nicole

Posted by Nicole Trotter with

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