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The Weekly View - August 20, 2021

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In This Issue
  • Weekly message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook video
  • Upcoming Events
  • Outreach Opportunities
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke family,

This coming Sunday, we’ll read the passage in First Kings that describes Solomon’s Temple, which, at the time it was built, was seen, quite literally, as the dwelling place of God.  The Temple, where the ark of the covenant was kept, was the center of public worship.  The people made pilgrimages to worship in the Temple, the one place they were certain they’d encounter God.

Have you ever been in a place in which you felt as though you encountered God?  Where you felt inexplicably, even mystically, closer to God?  The Pre-Christian and Celtic people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England called such places, “thin places,” because in them, the distance between us and God feels “thinner.”  The rural landscape in Scotland and Ireland is littered with standing stones, cairns, and markings that once boldly stated, “This is a thin place.  This is holy ground.”  As one author puts it, “The very ground itself seems to call out, ‘Come here and be transformed.’”  

Or, perhaps, rather than a place, you have experienced a moment in time when the veil seemed to lift, and the presence of God felt more real.  We don’t experience these moments or these places with our five ordinary senses.  So, what is it, then, that makes God feel more real, and more accessible, at some times or places than at others?  Is there anything the church might do to foster such transformative experiences?  We’ll explore these questions this Sunday.

We’ll also hear from guest musicians Courtney McGiver (horn) and Jesse Chi (trumpet).

A reminder: Soon, you’ll be receiving a letter about registering for the annual gala fundraising dinner.  The dinner on Saturday, October 2, at 5:00 p.m., will have indoor and outdoor seating.  Our chefs are planning a fabulous menu.  I understand that many of our guests at these annual events are friends and family of St. Luke members, so don’t forget to invite your friends and family, and perhaps even buy a table. See below for a link to purchase tickets online and to find our auction donation form.

I’ll see you on Sunday!

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

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The Weekly View - August 13, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook video
  • Outreach Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke family,

This Sunday we’ll look at the next king in our series on Old Testament kings: King Solomon.  Solomon is famous for being wise.  We’ll tease that apart on Sunday, but in the process, I find I’m intrigued by the topic of wisdom.  How would you describe wisdom?  You can find all sorts of clever quotations that sum up the difference between knowledge and wisdom:

  • “A clever person solves a problem.  A wise person avoids it.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” (Brian Driscoll)
  • “A smart person will give you smart answers, but a wise person will ask you smart questions.” (Anonymous) 
  • “A smart person knows what to say.  A wise person knows whether or not to say it.” (Anonymous)
  • “Knowing others is intelligence.  Knowing yourself is true wisdom.”  (Lao-Tzu)

 All these quotations point to knowledge being a result of learning, but wisdom being a function of experience, intuition (what your gut says), judgment, and emotional intelligence, as well as knowledge.
 
Who in literature or real life do you associate with wisdom?  I immediately thought of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books.  Two old men with long silver hair and beards.  Wonderful, wise characters, but pretty cliché, right?  When I realized this is my image of wisdom, I started to hunt around for more diverse examples.  I came up with real people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Alice Walker, Brené Brown, Bill Moyers, Mister Rogers, several colleagues in the presbytery, and some seminary professors.  I’m still thinking about that question, and I even posted it on Facebook, but too late to give you more than a couple of results: one friend said her dad, another said Jane Goodall, a third offered a clip from a “Seinfeld” episode that parodied King Solomon’s famously wise solution to an argument between two women over a baby.  I’d love to hear your answers: Who, in your opinion, is (or was) wise?  Fictional or historical, past or present, famous or obscure.

A letter is coming together to be sent out soon inviting you to sign up for the annual fundraiser dinner on Saturday, October 2, at 5:00 p.m.  The theme is “Starry Night” (St. Luke’s version of a black and white gala) and the menu looks fantastic.  I’m looking forward to what sounds like an amazing event.

I also look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday, both in person in the sanctuary, and on Zoom.

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

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The Weekly View - August 6, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook video
  • Outreach Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events

Dear St. Luke family,

As I let you know in my congregation-wide email on Wednesday, St. Luke will be complying with Marin County’s mask mandate.  As of August 3, masks are required in public indoor spaces.  We will require worshipers to wear masks this coming Sunday, and we’ll have some masks available if you forget to bring one.  I myself found that I lost the mask habit pretty quickly.  Now we have to relearn it.

A friend of mine posted a photo of himself on Instagram, wearing a mask and with the caption, “Thanks, [and here I will delete the expletive he used; a word that means, essentially, “stupid people.’].  His point is that those who are not vaccinated are responsible for the surge in COVID cases and the spread of the Delta variant, so that now, once again, he is required to wear a mask, when we all thought we’d left mask behind.  He’s angry.  I understand this.  I’m tired of masks, too.  I’m tired of struggling with the technological challenges of hybrid worship.  I’m tired of not knowing how to plan for the weeks and months ahead: Will the choir be able to sing on our Homecoming Sunday?  Should we hold our gala dinner indoors or outdoors?  Will we be able to gather in the sanctuary by candlelight on Christmas Eve?  I understand his anger.

This week’s lectionary passage from Ephesians advises the new Christian community at Ephesus, “Be angry, but do not sin.”  There aren’t many places in scripture that give us permission to be angry.  It’s a wonderful acknowledgement that feelings are okay.  But the caveat is important: “…but do not sin.”  I read this as, “…but do not do anything that makes things worse.”  

On Sunday, we’ll enjoy a traditional “hymn sing” (with masks!) and we’ll explore a faithful approach to anger.  Anger is an important alarm bell and a powerful tool that can also, unfortunately, be used to bully or manipulate people.  What are your questions about anger?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

Posted by Joanne Whitt with

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