Pastor’s Corner 9/8/2019

                 Welcome Home! Welcome to our little corner of the world! We are so grateful and glad you are here! Today, we are celebrating the beginning of a new program year here at St. Paul’s. We are celebrating where we have been and the ministries we support.
                 I recently read a story about two hiking buddies: Trevor and Melanie. They met at an exercise class last year and learned of their shared passion for nature and outdoor activities. One detail, though: Trevor cannot see, and Melanie cannot walk. “He’s the legs, and I’m the eyes!” Melanie exclaims. Trevor carries her in a custom backpack. Melanie vividly describes the terrain underfoot and landscapes they traverse. Their unique and beautiful partnership brings joy and purpose to both of their lives. “She loves the feeling of freedom, leaving her wheelchair behind,” Trevor explains.
                  The Dream Team prefers to be called “exemplary” over “inspirational”. Every one of us is stronger in some aspects and weaker in others. How we team up together will determine our total strength.
                 As we begin a new program year, may we see our potential together, our strength together. Trevor and Melanie’s partnership is a glimpse of God’s Kingdom here in our world. Together, we have accomplishments to celebrate, new worlds to explore, and a shared responsibility to God’s world and God’s beautiful people!
 

Let’s get to work!

May the force be with you,
Sami

 



Pastor’s Corner 9/1/19

Pastor’s Corner
                Beloved, During the Pastor Meet & Greets, many of you have voiced the desire for increasing the number of children, teens and families with young people in church.
                As congregations committed to being inclusive communities of faith, this can be a wonderful vision for us as it keeps us connected to ALL ages. 
               It can be a genuine gift to be blessed by crying babies, rambunctious toddlers, and children of all ages who can’t stop talking… if we choose to see it that way.
               Older generations often expect to give wisdom and receive hope. But what if that were reversed? We have young people heeding Jeremiah’s wisdom to not be afraid to lead “merely” because of their age. Are we willing to receive their prophetic word… even if what we hear isn’t to our liking?
               Might we be willing to provide young people with hope by loving and valuing them so tremendously that they cannot help but know themselves to be beloved children of God who matter NOW… and not just for who they might grow up to become someday?
              What are you prepared to do to make your church an inviting, vibrant, energizing place for families and young people? Could you volunteer to be a 2nd adult present for safety purposes at children and youth events so that those willing to teach can be fully utilized? Are you willing to consider that YOU might have capacity to lead in ways previously undiscovered? How will YOU embrace and care for those already in our midst even as we pray for God to lead us in expanding our circle of love and care?
 
I invite your prayer & reflection!  
 
Shalom,   
Margaret


Pastor’s Corner 8/25/19

               One of my favorite bands is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (a mouthful, I know, but I promise, they’re great). I love them so much that I even used one of their songs in my wedding ceremony. My current favorite track from them is called “I Don’t Wanna Pray.”
 
                It doesn’t sound like the most appropriate song for a pastor to be singing, does it? Yet, despite its provocative title and upbeat, quirky melody, the lyrics are much more spiritual than the name suggests. Here are a few that I find particularly relevant:
 
“Pardon God and mom, what I’m sayin’ isn’t fair
See, I’m lookin’ to become
Not the pray-er but the PRAYER.”
 
                At St. Paul’s this Sunday, we’re talking about prayer as part of our Living the Questions: Wisdom from Progressive Christianity sermon series. We’ll critically examine conventional beliefs about prayer and talk about finding new ways to connect with God in our world today.
 
              That being said, I find this song fitting. When I listen to “I Don’t Wanna Pray,” I don’t hear the speaker saying that they want nothing to do with God…in fact, they profess love for their Creator multiple times throughout. For them, the best way to connect with God is not to kneel, bow our heads and say flowery words, but to “walk the walk.” To not pray in order to bring our wants and needs to God, but to live in such a way that we are a living and breathing prayer and an answer to the prayers of others.
 
                This week, I invite you to think about what it looks like to be a prayer rather than just someone who prays. How can we, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel put it, “pray with our feet?” And as we go forward, let’s remember another piece of wisdom from “I Don’t Wanna Pray”: “Not much good to talk, better to walk it, Not much good to take, better to give!”   
 
In Christ,
Anna  


Pastor’s Corner 8/18/19

The Day the Border Disappears
 
                There is an anonymously-written article featured in this month’s Sojourners magazine titled, “The Day the Border Disappears”. Prior to 2001, the border between Pasos Lajitas, Mexico and Lajitas, Texas, USA was open. Many people worked in the United States and lived in Mexico.
                But, in May of 2002, all of a sudden, the border was closed, and people were separated. But since then, the community decided that they should have a family reunion every year on that date.
                 Some cannot cross the border, so those who can cross join those who cannot. At the beginning, the priest stands in the river and blesses everyone on each side. Then, they begin their reunion. They share a meal, talk and hug, and they have fun together. When 6 PM rolls around, the group disperses to their appointed countries, and they wait until the next year to go it all again. 
                  A few weeks ago, an artist installed the “Teeter-Totter Wall”, which is a large teeter-totter with seats on either side of the slatted border wall. Sunland Park, New Mexico, USA and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico have seen militia-detained migrants at its meeting, and even a private group raising millions of dollars to build its own border wall. 
                 However, the current slatted border wall now has a connectional tool, the seesaw, to connect the countries.
                 There will be a day when the border disappears physically. Until then, let’s lean on one another, teeter-totter with one another, and reunite! We must continue to show that another world is possible and bring God’s kin’dom to every place we encounter!
 
Peace,
Pastor Sami
Kids from Mexico and the U.S. in the Rio Grande. Photo by Jessica Lutz/Reuters
Photo is from the Anonymous article found Here.