Hello Sisters and Brothers -
I wrote last week about the seeming bumper to bumper pile-up of concerns and disasters affecting people close to home and around the globe. It got a little closer to home for me last week as the Santa Ana winds whipped through Napa, CA, the town where I was born and raised, and where two of my brothers still love, and many aunts, uncles, countless cousins and friends still live. All of a sudden the words I wrote last week became very personal as the firestorm began to rage (surrounding Napa, and devastating nearby Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, too). Although some of my family members and friends did evacuate, so far all are safe and their homes have been spared. But it’s hard to celebrate dodging a bullet when your neighbor burned to the ground, and so many others have lost everything they owned, and the sheer beauty of the Napa Valley is marred. My sister in law who works as Base/Emergency Management Coordinator at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa says today the winds have calmed, but, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” Hard to imagine. Thank you for your continued prayers for the many who have experienced total loss in the inferno, and remain under continued threat and very frightened.
Just a quick heads up that a few folks from the Listening Team will stick around after worship/lunch on October 22 (not this Sunday, but the following Sunday) for a very informal time of hearing from any in the congregation who have thoughts to share as we discern FPCS’s future. If you would like to share briefly about – What do you see happening in the neighborhood? How do you see FPCS investing here in the future? Do you sense any possible partnerships with others? – this is the time for the Listening Team to listen to you!
The sermon text this week is Matthew 22:1-14 – the third, and (I must admit I am happy to say) last parable that Jesus told to help straighten out the temple leadership (and, I think, Matthew used to straighten out the church in his day, as well.) It’s a parable about a wedding banquet, which sounds cheery enough, but if you thought the earlier two parables were a little cranky – holy cow – this one seems like we are catching Jesus/Matthew on a really bad day! Lots of violence, gnashing of teeth and outer darkness, o my! Check it out, read it through several times, bring your questions and insights, and let’s trust the Holy Spirit will guide us, and see if we can proclaim some good news this Sunday!
Be the church!