November Pastor’s Corner

Friends,

I hope you have gotten some mail from PPUMC recently, first, an invitation to the Fall Arts and Food Fest coming up this next weekend on its traditional date: the first Saturday in November and second, a letter introducing this year’s Stewardship season. I hope you received both. I like the balance of the two.

One, the Fall-Fest, is an invitation to be part of the neighborhood and community by coming together at the church when it is filled with the aromas of delicious food and beverage, the sound of voices laughing, conversing, maybe even bargaining together, the colors and textures and symmetries of the works of art and the crafts collected and offered for sale in painting, textiles, pottery, wood and more. It is a sensory immersion and a time of gathering in the moment to delight in what has been created.

The other, the invitation to pledge as part of Stewardship season, is more internal, a chance to consider the quieter way in which we engage also with neighborhood and community, by providing what we can, household by household, to build a budget for the year ahead so that we may continue in our many and various efforts to work as a church in the world. This is a powerful time of careful consideration and personal discernment to commit to being part of what is being created.

While the Fall-Fest is like a fountain, displaying our delight in community and shared abundance, our Stewardship is like the deep and living well from which it bubbles. One is exciting and action filled, one is anticipatory, strategic and full of possibilities and decisions. We bridge between the two. We are purposeful and expressing who and Whose we are. The story of Jesus intersecting with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, is being lived out in our midst. Both action and thought are required in the journey toward rediscovered, recovered life. For the stories of Mary, Martha and Lazarus see Luke 10:38-42 and John 11:1-44.

We have been imagining a mighty crossing for months, stretching into a second year. We are passing through a challenging period of time, a wilderness of sorts, in which most if not all of our daily, weekly, life practices have been disrupted. This disruption and all its fallout is both personal and public. It is intimately private and going viral all over the planet. It is as if the paths we all walked fairly simply before, feet firmly on the ground, have become tightropes that we walk oh so very carefully in mid-air, balancing risk and possibility, capacity and need, with each step we take. It is no wonder we are talking about bridging into a future that we cannot see any more clearly than a driver can see the other end of the bay when they accelerate onto the Golden Gate bridge!

We are in bridge crossing times and balance is our necessity!
The balance between contemplation and activity; body and mind…
the balance between risk and possibility; capacity and need…
the balance between introversion and extroversion, together and apart…
the balance between tradition and revelation – the familiar and the discovered…
the balance between peace and urgency…
the balance between in-person and virtual…
the balance between agreement and challenge; homogeneity and diversity.

The balance most central to our Christian community is the balance between a personal relationship with the Holy and our combined expression of holiness – in all its balance of question and confidence in faith. This is the balance of love and justice that is sourced by our indi-vidual selves and expressed through the character of our community.

We will continue to diligently and purposefully balance and bridge, so that what develops is the connection, the strength, the capacity, the joy, the peace, the power, the confidence, to move in the world as the body of Christ – the hands and feet of God – each move a step deeper into and toward the Kin-dom of Heaven. That is the North Star of our crossing and our lives, a world made new – and balanced, bridging between now and then, here and there; history and eternity. We may never stand on either shore – ever or ever again – but living on the bridge we are building into the next generation is exactly what we are called here to do.

Wild blessings,
Pastor Chris