Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
Memory, Spirit, and Love, Mark 16:1-8
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 4-5-15
I usually preach from the gospel of John 20:1-18 on Easter Sunday, but this year I am using the alternate reading from Mark 15. It has an uncomfortably abrupt ending. Scholars tell us that longer endings were added to Mark’s gospel, but our reading today stops at an odd place.
Listen to the way Mark, the earliest gospel writer, tells the Easter story:
Retell the Scripture Story: When the Sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they could anoint Jesus’ body.
Very early, when the sun had just risen, they went to the tomb.
“Who will roll away the stone?”
When they looked up, they saw that the large stone had been rolled back.
Entering the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.”
Go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
That, scholars tell us, is the original ending of the earliest Gospel in the oldest manuscripts that survive. It is easy to see how early readers, preachers, scribes, and editors might have added: “And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.” [Mark 15:8b, the shorter ending of Mark] Later editors appear to have added vs. 9-20. There is no certainty here, but it seems like additional resurrection stories were told and later written down as the faith grew from the shadow of the cross to the wonder of the resurrection. All the stories were carried in oral tradition for forty years, or so, before anything was reduced to writing.
If you have ever had a mystical experience and later tried to tell someone about it, and even later tried to write it down, you will understand a little of the problem that faced the women and men who were among Jesus’ earliest followers. The telling of your experience is a reduction of the experience. The writing of it is a further reduction of the experience itself. Yet without the written record, the stories might not have come down the centuries to us.
How did the Christian faith begin? We have the stories of the birth of Jesus, his life and work, his death and resurrection. It is a miracle that a new world religion came from a poor Jew, crucified at a young age in a conquered country. But the stories spread like wildfire in all directions. People couldn’t stop talking about Jesus.
It was and still is amazing to see and feel the faith, the hope, the love, the peace of God within us, and all around us. How did it happen? It is a wonder and a mystery, yet it is a historic fact that the church was born and has grown into a major faith tradition spanning the globe.
Of course with this growth came all the problems of misuse of money and power. The history of the church is not all glorious—far from it. Today, as we celebrate our own faith tradition, we are learning also to honor the light in other faith traditions. We no longer feel we have the only way to God. We do not impose our views on others. Our prayer each week honors the light in all faith traditions.
The labyrinth in our garden is a pre-Christian, pre-Jewish tool for meditation and spiritual reflection. I invite you to walk it after the service today. There is only one path to the center. It is not a maze, but a winding path toward the center. You may stay in the center as long as you like, and then follow the same winding path back out. On this high holy day let us remember people of all faith traditions and no particular faith tradition who live by the law of love and seek the light. Let us proclaim our faith with respect and humility this Easter morning.
In Mark’s Gospel the women were courageous, but frightened.
They were forging a new relationship with Jesus
through memory, spirit, and love.
They were amazed and terrified.
And they were forging a new relationship with Jesus
through memory, spirit, and love.
In the original ending they told no one what they had seen and heard.
But they were forging a new relationship with Jesus
through memory, spirit, and love.
After two thousand years we may still be afraid to share what we have heard and seen, but the command to “go and tell” still comes to us from the empty tomb.
I share my faith everywhere I go. Do you?
Sometimes I use words, sometimes music, sometimes my spirit shines out the message of God’s eternal love.
I care for people in memory. I remember the saints who have gone before us.
I care for people in spirit. In a way that might be invisible.
And I care for people in love, which is eternal.
These relationships forged by memory, spirit and love are real and true and lasting. This is our soul’s work. I invite you to join me in this work, forging a new relationship with the risen Christ through memory, spirit, and love.
I’d like to close with an Easter hymn text I wrote last year. The text expresses both joy and sorrow, both the faith and the doubt that are common elements in all human life experience.
Every week, every worship experience, if we are honest, brings us a little of each. And God is with us. And Christ is risen. And we are the body of the risen Christ, here and now. Can you see it?
Can you see the living Christ
in the people gathered here
bringing sorrow, bringing joy,
as the Spirit draws us near?
Can you hear the living Christ
in the songs of young and old,
in the voices of the world,
in the stories often told?
Can you sense the living Christ
in the praise the earth can give,
as the colors leap with joy
in the garden where you live?
Can you feel the living Christ
in the love that holds us fast,
as the mortar holds the stone
while it echoes praises past?
Risen Christ, we see your face
in the people gathered here
bringing sorrow, bringing joy,
as your Spirit draws us near.
Risen Christ, we walk by faith,
moved by what we cannot see,
till our sorrow turns to joy,
and you come to set us free.
Dan Damon, rev. 2014
WORDS and MUSIC © 2013 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved.
Let us be in prayer.
Joys and Concerns
Terry Cullinane, a dear friend of Fran Smith, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. Terry has helped us numerous times working at the Sweetheart Dinner and with UMW on many of our teas. She is a treasure. Prayers for healing are welcome. If you would like to send a card: 995 Glendora, Oakland 94602.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) up date: Sandra thanks everyone for their prayers and concerns. Fran reports that Sandra is more animated and cheerful than she has been in months. Sandra has undergone 4 chemo treatments and feels good. Both Fran and Sandra ask that prayers continue.
Deby McFadyen is asking for prayers for her father, Jack McFadyen, who has lung cancer. Currently he is doing well.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing. Update: Linda will be having Hospice services starting next week which should be a benefit to both of them. Linda has great difficulty standing for transfers and is becoming discouraged. Do stop by and visit if you can.
Robbie Robinson would appreciate your prayers.
Helen Wysham welcomes your prayers for healing as she undergoes chemotherapy.
Bobby and Pamella Hall would like to be remembered in prayer as they go through some difficult personal times.
Arpha MacIntyre is requesting prayers as she comes to the end of her life with a terminal illness. Arpha played the piano at our church for many years. If you wish to send a card: Sierra View Homes Retirement Community, 1155 E. Springfield Ave., Reedly, CA 93654. Jane Carnall has spoken with Arpha several times and Arpha is thrilled to be getting cards and messages of love from our church community.
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Many thanks to Debbie Benko who organized the Easter Egg Hunt and to the many people who helped hide the eggs, brought in eggs and assisted during the hunt!
A huge “Thank you” to Pat Dornan who decorated the church so beautifully and arranged the flower display.
And the largest “Thank you” of all to Pastor Dan for making the Easter Services special.
News from Camp Liberty. Sunday, April 12, 1-3 pm Rally to protest the Iraqi Government’s detention of a resident of Camp Liberty since March 24. There are rumors that he will be extradited to Iran, where he will face probable torture and death. The Rally will be held in Union Square, San Francisco.
Glide Memorial UMC, Tuesday, April 14, Panel Discussion on Prop 47: Before and After Race and Social (In)Justice in California. Thousands of inmates are now eligible for release and opportunities for a fresh start. Panel consists of an author of Prop 47, Law professor and an attorney. Part of the discussion will cover re-entry issues. Glide Freedom Hall, 330 Ellis St., San Francisco. Door open at 6 pm. panel at 6:30 pm with refreshments after the discussion. More info: email@example.com
Saturday, April 18 at 3 pm, Epworth UMC is sponsoring a Spirituals Sing Along and Workshop led by Dr. Lynne Morrow, Music Director of Pacific Edge Voices, Oakland Symphony Chorus, and Professor of Voice at Sonoma State. All are welcome. Tickets $10 advance and $15 at the door, children $5. Tickets: PacificEdgeVoices.org or 510 848 8022. 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley.
CA/Nev Annual Conference registration is open at www.cnumc.org/acs15.
United Methodist Women are starting a collection for 10 School Kits. There will be a box in Friendship Hall for your donations. Lists of needed supplies will also be in Friendship Hall for pick up. Remember that you can only donate things that are on the list or UMCOR will remove them. Linda Woody-Wood is generously going to sew the school bags for us again. We would like to have our kits packed up and ready to go to the Annual Conference in June. Update: Rulers have been purchased so cross them off your list.
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Sunday, April 19, Native American Sunday. Special donations for funding Native American Seminary students, assisting Native American congregations to honor their heritage and be followers of Jesus.
Friday, April 24, 7:30 pm, PRJazz presents Enion Pelta-Tiller and Taarka. Taarka is described as a virtuosic ensemble featuring strings and vocals with beautiful compositions, high-energy performance and songs weaving the sounds of old and new. Enion Pelta-Tiller, violin, vocalist, David Tiller, guitar, vocalist, Ross Martin, guitar and Sam Guisman, bass. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Advance tickets $15, at the door $20. Tickets through prjazz.org.
Saturday, April 25, 11 am to 1 pm, Workshop with Enion Pelta-Tiller. 714 Western Drive, Point Richmond. Further info: prjazz.org.
ANNUAL JUNKTIQUE SALE is SAT. MAY 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Point Richmond’s Historic First United Methodist Church.
We are now accepting donations of still usable furniture, toys, books, electronics, appliances and other household items as we look forward to our biggest fundraiser of the year. (Please no clothing, shoes, hide-a-beds, exercise equipment, metal frame recliners, particle board furniture.)
The church basement door facing West Richmond Ave. will be open for drop-off donations:
Wed. mornings through April from 10 am to noon.
Thurs. evenings through April from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat. mornings through April from 10 a.m. to Noon
Please also email the above people to arrange to help in other ways: to price, organize or clean items before the sale or to help move merchandise before, during or after the sale.
Don’t forget our Famous Lunch of Chili, Minestrone, Hot Dogs, & Pie from 11:30 a.m. til gone.
The day of the sale, come early and avail yourself of the bargains and unbelievable one-of-a-kind items. And bring a friend!
Sign up sheets for pies and helping before and during the sale are in Friendship Hall.
Save the Date: Saturday, May 16, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, District Conference. Rev. Schuyler Rhodes has sent this reminder. The Conference includes a Mission Fair with displays by local churches, a fair trade marketplace, training opportunities for Staff-Parish Relations Committee Members, Trustees, church council and more. Plus a briefing on legislation coming up at the Annual Conference. Donations $15 includes lunch and materials. First United Methodist Church, 502 Virginia St., Vallejo, CA 94590. To register: https://calnev-reg.betrapp.com.
Ca/Nev Annual Conference, June 17-20 (Wed. thru Sat.). This year’s theme is ” Engaging Faith in the Public Square”. Registration is now open at www.cnum.org/acs15. San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency, 1333 Old Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA.
Save the Dates: June 14-20 for Mt. Lassen Journey Farthest Out Camp. The camp provides a time apart for spiritual growth and opening our lives to God physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The vision is to provide a place where all people are accepted with the unconditional love that Jesus shares. All ages are welcome. Registration is open through “Mt. Lassen JFO”.
The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) is meeting in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the Reconciling Ministries Network. Gather at the River, Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9. The conference will be working on issues of justice throughout the church and resolutions they would like to see presented at the General Conference in 2016. Register at http://www.gather2015.org/.
Please send submissions for FUMC News and Events to Barbara Haley, editor: firstname.lastname@example.org