April 2016

Happy Easter!

Luke 24:6 “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified,
and on the third day rise again.”

This is the pivotal moment of the year, of our lives, of the history of the World. How are you doing? How is your body, heart and soul? Have you stopped and contemplated? Are there things, people and relationships you struggle with? Is there hope? The Gospel says yes! God is alive for you, in you, giving you the power and grace to move forward with hope and thanksgiving.

The resurrection is not something to embrace with your rational mind, but with your soul. There is that deep part of us that psychology would call the psyche. But in Christianity the psyche is not something contained by and within an individual body and mind. Jung gets close. Our soul is a gift at our creation that is a piece of the divine. But again it is not a piece in the sense of something contained – more like a branch or a shoot, molecules of water in an everflowing steam. As we diverge from our ideal divine aim, as we fall short and sin, there is a stopping up, clogging, a breaking off from our most true selves – the union of the soul and God. The broken off part gets stuck, meets a dead end.

The Gospel tells us that Jesus makes a way out of no way. He shows us the eternal power of God’s grace and love. He embodies that love, that soul tapped straight into God, even when it will cost him his life. We think “God’s grace couldn’t possibly reach me, lost as I am.” And yet when we meet the risen Christ we discover that we are forgiven and empowered by the Spirit. And we sing, “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Come, be a part of the story of Christ alive!

Love and blessings,
Pastor Max

HOLY WEEK has begun. On Palm Sunday, March 20, we celebrated the day Christ came into Jerusalem (and into St. John’s!) riding a donkey. Waving palms and proclaiming “Hosanna!” we welcomed Christ’s arrival. This Thursday, March 24, at 6:30 pm — Maundy Thursday — we will share the Last Supper (with soup and communion) in the Campbell Reception Room. On Good Friday, March 25, we gather at Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab for worship at 7:00 am.
Then, Easter Sunday on March 27, the day of resurrection! Invite friends and neighbors, especially families with children, to join you at church on Easter Sunday and stay after worship for our expanded coffee hour and our historic Grand Non-Competitive Egg Hunt for all ages on the church lawn. Anyone wishing to assist our Bunny by providing eggs, hard-boiled or candy filled, may drop then off at the church office before 9:00 am Easter morning.

Good Friday at Livermore
“Empire and the Cross, Sowing the Seeds of Hope”
We gather at the gates of the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory. March 25, 2016
Rev. Deborah Lee will be preaching.
On this day after the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Romero we will hear from Rev. Deborah Lee, Senior Program Director of Immigration, with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, which believes that every person is sacred across all borders. She works with faith communities to engage, accompany and advocate for the fair treatment and dignity of immigrants. She led a recent faith delegation to Honduras.
We will gather at Vasco and Patterson Pass Roads in Livermore at 6:45 am. The Program will begin with opening music at 6:45 am, followed by worship at 7:00 am, then by a procession to the gate, including Stations of the Cross. At the gate several participants will make nonviolent acts of witness. This action is sponsored by Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC and Livermore Conversion Project.
Greg, Sally Juarez, Max and Glenda are planning to go. If you’d like to join us, contact Glenda at 528-6238 or gpawsey@comcast.net

One Great Hour of Sharing: This offering, on Easter Sunday, supports Presbyterian programs that help people in need of food, water, shelter, relief from crises and catastrophic events worldwide, and developmental assistance. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Berkeley CROP Hunger Walk
Sunday, April 17, 2016
This year’s walk will start from St. John’s Presbyterian Church at 1:00 pm. This annual event benefits Church World Service and four local non-profit agencies that help fight hunger. For more information contact Greg Rising or go to http://www.crophungerwalk.org/berkeleyca

The next meeting of the Literature Club will be Thursday, April 28, at 2;30 pm, in the Office Break Room. We will discuss “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” by Alan Bradley. All are welcome.

Horizons Bible Study will meet on Thursday, April 21 in the Campbell Reception Room from 12 noon-2:00 pm. Claudia Cate will lead the discussion of Lesson Seven: “Streams of Mercy/Forgiveness.” Scripture selections for this session are: Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-7; Psalm 5:1-12; Matthew 6:12. Interested? Bring your lunch, your Bible, the lesson materials (if you have them) and join in for a thoughtful and lively time of sharing our insights.

Flick Flak: April 1 is the date for our next potluck dinner/movie discussion (no meeting in March). Movies to see (or not) are: “The Lady In The Van,” “Risen” (not sure this is still playing), “Where To Invade Next,” and “The Revenant”. Bring your dinner contribution at 6:30 pm to the Campbell Reception Room and your thoughts about the movies and their topics. Please Note: If we meet again in April look for information in the Sunday Bulletin. Questions? Call Sally Hussey.

Calling All Campers! Camp Elmwood is coming up, so if you know young people ages 5-13, give them a nudge! To sign up for good fun from August 1-5, pick up a form in the church office. Teen Leadership Camp for ages 14-18 is July 25-29. You can also go to our website at stjohnsberkeley.org and click on Community, then Camp Elmwood: 2016.

Ski Trip Leftovers
Several pairs of nice gloves were left at the Tahoe house along with a few other items. Yours? You will find them in a sack in the church office. —Claudia Cate

Have you signed up?!
Now is the time!

St. John’s Annual All-Church Retreat
Friday, April 8 – Sunday, April 10

Relax • Refresh • Reconnect
in the Redwoods!