April 2017

Rev 3 [20]
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
John 20:
[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
[20] When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
[21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”

         I called through your door,
         “The mystics are gathering.”
         “Leave me alone. I’m sick.”

        “I don’t care if you’re dead!
         Jesus is here, and he wants
        to resurrect somebody!”

                                    Rumi, Sufi Mystic

It is an audacious, mystical claim: the power of love and peace, found so vividly in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, is eternal. It is a hope that surpasses understanding.
Rebecca Solnit, in her book, “Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities” quotes Vaclav Havel, the Czechoslovakian playwright who was imprisoned as a dissident, before there was visible evidence of a chink in the power of the Soviet power:
“Hope is not prognostication.  It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.  Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance of success.”
This is what Gospel hope is all about.  Who would have imagined that Christ, so humble, loving and gracious, yet so normally human and powerless, would rise beyond Roman power, terror and death.  He did, and because of His great faith, we get to see and experience this great resurrection. This resurrected Spirit, the Spirit of the eternal God, comes to us where we are, here and now, giving us hope that surpasses understanding.  Amazing, Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

                                                                  With love,
                                                                  Pastor Max

Holy Week events
Sunday, April 9                     Palm Sunday
Wed. April 12, 7:00 PM        Forum on Nationalism and Racism in Nazi Germany and the United States: Religion’s Proponents and the Resistance, at St. John’s, with UC Berkeley historians John Connelly and David A. Hollinger. See the flyer in the Narthex.
Thursday, April 13              Maundy Thursday Meditation and Communion
Friday, April 14                   Good Friday Sunrise Worship, Laurence Livermore Labs
Easter Sunday, April 16    Celebration of the Resurrection Hope, Easter Egg hunt
after worship
Immigration Vigil at the West County Detention Center Facility, Sunday April 2, 2:00pm (usually Saturday at 11:00) This will be a Passover Seder in solidarity with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers.  For more info or a ride, call Glenda Pawsey, 528-6238
Saturday, April 8, 5:30 to 9:00 PM, Youth Ministry Party for grades 6-12
at the home of Fred Harvey, 2824 Benvenue Avenue, Berkeley. For information call Fred at (510) 843-8469. Invite friends and neighbors to join us at worship on Easter Sunday and stay for our grand egg hunt on the church lawn after the service. Anyone wishing to contribute eggs (colored and/or candy filled) may drop them off at the church office Saturday April 15 or before 9:00 AM Easter Sunday.
Sunday Forums for April
April 2: Fourth Sunday in Lent: Third Lenten Reflection on Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People      In the third of our series of Lenten reflections, our topic will be “Practicing servanthood, finding freedom.” We shall again be using material from John Ortberg’s book, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People.” If you want to be extra-well prepared, read chapters seven and ten of the book before coming to the Forum.
April 9: Palm Sunday: Fourth Lenten Reflection on Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People      In the fourth and last of our series of Lenten reflections, our topic will be “Going the distance with a well-ordered heart.” We shall again be using material from John Ortberg’s book, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People.” If you want to be extra-well prepared, read chapters twelve and thirteen of the book before coming to the Forum.
April 16: Easter  There will be no forum on Easter Sunday. Enjoy the Easter Egg Hunt.
April 23: Potluck Luncheon Farewell for Pastor Karen
April 30: Johnny Kashung, our Seminary Intern, will talk about Manipur.  Come to learn about the church and community Johnny has served and will continue to serve when he returns to India.
Lenten Refugee Welcome Project Reminder
What an amazing response there’s been to the Lenten Refugee Welcome project! Thank you to all who have indicated that they plan to contribute some of the items requested by recently-arrived clients of the International Rescue Committee here in the East Bay. (You may recall that the list of items included bicycles to use to get to and from work, rice cookers, pressure cookers, area rugs, irons, and gift cards to Target and Safeway.)
The next steps are to acquire these items and then bring them to church on Palm Sunday, April 9. And, though we won’t know the precise identities of the recipients of our St. John’s contributions, you should feel free to also share a message of welcome or a note of support and encouragement.
The warm welcome and generous support from St. John’s are much appreciated. Please let Lisa Blampied know if you have any questions or suggestions, and thank you in advance for bringing items to church on Palm Sunday.
Sunday, April 30, is the day of the CROP Hunger Walk, a program of Church World Service,
which aims to alleviate hunger here and across the world, wherever basic resources are insufficient.  The need grows every year.  Join other St. John’s walkers for this wonderful cause. See: www.crophungerwalk.org/berkeleyca.
Why do we walk each year? We know that by bringing food to families in times of scarcity and by bringing water to communities in times of drought, we are helping people both in our own community and around the world reclaim their livelihoods so they aren’t forced to look elsewhere. On CWS’s side of things, the need is greater than ever to stand together to preempt extreme conditions that cause displacement and refugee status. CROP walks are an incredibly meaningful way to help alleviate desparate situations.  As we are all learning on many fronts, there is power in a walk.
For more about the programs you’re helping support, check out the programs tab on CWS’s 2016 annual report: http://cwsannualreport.org/   More specific details for St. John’s will soon be available.
Horizons Bible Study:
Glenda Pawsey will be facilitating our discussion on Thursday April 20 as we continue to answer the question of this year’s study: “Who Is Jesus?” We will be looking at this question through the material about the other Abrahamic Faiths. Interested? Come at 12:00 noon, lunch in hand. We’ll see a short video before we review the lesson material for the day. (Background Scripture is Genesis 12:1-4; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:6-7; 4:23-29) Extra copies of the Horizons Bible Study guide are available. The Campbell Reception Room is where we meet. We end by 2:00 pm. Questions? Check with Sally Hussey.
Flick Flack:
The movies for our April 28 potluck/movie group are:
I Am Not Your Negro and A United Kingdom. We meet at 6:30 pm for our shared dinner, followed by discussion of the movies. The Campbell Reception Room is our meeting place. The table there has lots of room, so, if you have been thinking about dropping in sometime, we’d love to welcome you and your input on which movies to see for the next meeting in May!
The St. John’s Knitting Ministry will meet April 7 and 21 in the church office at 1:30. Come join us for tea, knitting (for the Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center) and conversation.
Invite your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors to participate in this year’s Camp Elmwood!  July 31-Aug 4. See the website: www.stjohnsberkeley.org/community/ce

Happy Easter!