I hope you will join us for the JFO day here on March 7, 10 am till 4 pm at our church. This will be a day of singing, prayer, spiritual growth, and creative fun. Song leader, John David Webster will be staying over for our worship service the next day. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear him. I’ll be doing a service in song at the Patterson Federated Church (see their Facebook page) on March 15. Jean Reynolds will be leading our service here that day. Let her know if you’d like to help.
Love and Joy,
Pastor Dan Damon
Retirement, Mark 9:2-9
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 2-15-15
I bumped into Jim Brooks this morning at 6:30 am. We were getting coffee at Starbucks, and I asked if he was walking his dog again. He said he was on his way to work at Home Depot in San Rafael. He told me he has another job as well, something to do with water. I said, “ I guess retirement didn’t agree with you.” He said, “There is no retirement. You have to do something, or else you just sit on the couch and die.” Mid told me something similar this week when I was visiting her in her new house on the hill. ‘Use it or lose it’ is an expression that comes to mind.
Retell the Scripture Story
Do you remember the lesson from last week? It is found in Isaiah 40. You can read it at home and then meditate on the meaning of the passage for your life. Let me remind you of the final verses of our reading from last week:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” KJV alt.
This week’s gospel lesson is from Mark 9. It has been called the story of the transfiguration. I found this definition online:
a complete change in form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. “In this light the junk undergoes a transfiguration; it shines.”
Christ’s appearance in radiant glory to three of his disciples (Mt. 17:2, Mk. 9:2-3, Lk. 28-36).
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain.
The disciples see the radiant Jesus talking with Elijah, and Moses.
Peter suggests staying up here on the mountaintop. “Let’s make three dwellings. Let’s retire here and now.”
A voice from a cloud: This is my beloved Son: hear him.
They go back down.
Do you remember what John said in the opening of his gospel? “The Word was made flesh and [pitched a tent among us], and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1:14
We do not live on the mountaintop experiences of our lives. We remember them. I gave my heart to Jesus at a summer camp when I was eight years old. I dedicated my life to Jesus at another camp later on. I felt the peace of God for a brief moment when I was in my early teens. I have never forgotten these moments. I draw strength from them.
I know that you have your moments of peace and joy that give you strength, too. But we don’t live in those moments. We go down the trail again to the valley below, to continue the work to which we have been truly called. We teach, we preach, we visit the sick, we tend bars, we run restaurants, we count fish, we mix chemicals, we make picture frames, we fix trucks, we type legal documents, we keep accurate records of spending, we give our lives in service to the world we live in. We engage in life, remembering the past joys, experiencing the joy and pain of living, and allowing the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit of Love to open our hearts to those we meet in the workplace and on the streets.
Richard Smith told me once that his retirement plan involved an early death. I think he changed that plan later. Fran Smith told me recently, “I can still do the work.” Are you looking with longing at the mountaintop, or are you still at work in the valleys, making the crooked places plain?
We love the mountains, the lakes, and the seashore. We need our time away. Jesus needed time in the mountains away from the crowds who needed his healing touch, his words of truth and life. But, even in retirement, with body, mind, and spirit, we continue to engage in the work of the kingdom of God, building a world of justice, peace, and good will for all people and plants, animals and rocks, water, soil, and air. We change the world a little at a time, even in retirement.
Let us be in prayer.
Joys and Concern
Lauren McLeod welcomes your prayers for healing.
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. The wound has healed, the drain is out and the infection is gone! The IV port for chemo was inserted this week and treatment will begin on Tuesday. Both Fran and Sandra ask that prayers continue.
Molly Smith is requesting prayers for her brother who has been treated for a brain tumor for several years and has recently entered the Hospice program. Prayers for his family and her brother as they go through this very difficult time.
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: They are still open to visitors, so drop by 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.
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Beginning Sunday, February 15 we will be honoring the memory of Helen Valentine with donations of your coins, checks or paper money to enable the children of the church to make a donation to the Heifer Project. We will be collecting through March 14. bring your coins, Norm Reynolds loves to roll them up for deposite in our Heifer Fund.
Norm and Jean Reynolds celebrated their 35th Wedding Anniversary this past Monday. Our congratulations to them.
Bobby and Pamella Hall who now live in Florida, were at church Sunday. Sadly one of Bobby’s brothers had died and they came for the funeral allowing extra time to visit. Pamella said they held two new grandbabies for the first time! They graciously sang and played for us and were so happy to be here. It was a joy for us to visit with them.
The World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2014 shows a dramatic decrease in deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa is where 90% of the cases occur and UMCOR will be giving out millions of bed nets this year from your donations to Imagine No Malaria, which is short $10 million dollars of the $75 million needed. The bed nets in Africa will go to areas where access is most limited hoping to increase the use to 90-98% of the people. WHO states we are on the right course. Won’t you help with a donation?
UMCOR is now helping in the Ukraine. Many people have been displaced and are homeless. UMCOR is helping with food distribution, firewood, and health kits.
United Methodist Women are starting a collection for 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.
One Great Hour of Sharing is coming March 15. This special Sunday donation goes to support the administrative costs for UMCOR which allows all the donations to UMCOR to be used for the needy.
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Our carpets are clean! A huge thank you to Bill Thompson and Heinz Lankford who cleaned the Sanctuary and Narthex carpets last week. The joy of going up to the altar and not seeing any stains was a real pleasure. Thank you so much for giving your time and energy to beautify our church.
Beginning Sunday, February 15 thru March 14, we will be collecting coins and other forms of money, in memory of Helen Valentine and contributing the donations to buy animals or plants chosen by the children in the church to the Heifer International.
Sunday, February 22, 10 am, Celebrating Fruitfulness and Faithfulness with Bishop Warner Brown. Inspirational preaching by Bishop Brown, Cal/Nev Conference Bishop as well as President of the Council of Bishops speaking about the areas of fruitfulness and faithfulness that he is most excited about. Town Hall style of Q&A time led by the Bishop. Taylor Memorial UMC, 1188 12th St, Oakland. Reception following at 2 pm at Epworth UMC, 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley. Flyers in Friendship Hall.
Friday, February 27, 7:30 pm, PRJazz presents the Zack Brock Trio. Zack Broch, violin; Sam Borsh, keyboard and Mark Ferber, drums direct from New York City. Jazz Times has stated that Zack has audacious ingenuity and masterful command of his instrument. Zack is a composer as well as “the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation”. Don’t miss this cutting edge ensemble! First united Methodist church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Tickets $20 at the door and $15 through prjazz.org where you can see more about the group.
Saturday, February 28, 11 am to 1 pm, Master Class and Workshop with Zack Brock. 714 Western Dr., Point Richmond. See prjazz.org and click on Workshops for more information.
Saturday, March 7, 10 am to 4 pm, All JFO Spring Retreat. Journey Farthest Out provides camping experiences for development of body, mind and spirit by giving an opportunity to explore one’s inner spirituality and find ways to go farther out in one’s relationship to God. Come for a day of meditation, singing, speaker, creative/sharing, prayer group, World Prayer Broadcast and a blessing ceremony. Light breakfast provided, bring a bag lunch. RSVP to Jean Reynolds 510 734 3942 or email@example.com. More information at: jfocamps.com/home.
Saturday, March 14- save the date for our annual Sweetheart Dinner, Heinz Lankford and Kathe Kiehn will be our Sweethearts. More information to come.
Tuesday, March 17, 9:30 am, Church Women United will be meeting at Easter Hill UMC, 2911 Cutting Blvd., Richmond. Gather at 9:30, meeting at 10 am, “World Day of Prayer”. Contact Jean Reynolds at 510 734 3942 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Good Friday Service, April 3, 7:30 pm
This year the churches of our Circuit will be observing Good Friday at El Sobrante UMC. The service will feature a mass choir and “Golgatha,” a dramatic interpretation of the passion of our Lord. The drama involves 8 characters and a narrator. Those interested in participating in this dramatic interpretation are invited to contact Noel Stout, email@example.com, 510-754-1503. El Sobrante UMC, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante.