Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
If You Love Me, John 14:15-21
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 5-25-14
Do you remember this song from Fiddler on the Roof [music: Jerry Bock, lyrics: Sheldon Harnick]?
Tevye says to Golde: I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel.
(Golde) What??? He’s poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!
(Tevye) He’s a good man, Golde. I like him. And what’s more important, Hodel likes him. Hodel loves him. So what can we do? It’s a new world… A new world. Love. Golde… Do you love me?
(Golde) Do I what?
(Tevye) Do you love me?
(Golde) Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married
And this trouble in the town
You’re upset, you’re worn out
Go inside, go lie down!
Maybe it’s indigestion
(Tevye) Golde I’m asking you a question… Do you love me?
(Golde) You’re a fool
(Tevye) I know… But do you love me?
(Golde) Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked the cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?
(Tevye) Golde, The first time I met you
Was on our wedding day. I was scared.
(Golde) I was shy
(Tevye) I was nervous
(Golde) So was I
But my father and my mother
Said we’d learn to love each other
And now I’m asking, Golde
Do you love me?
(Golde) I’m your wife
(Tevye) I know… But do you love me?
(Golde) Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him
Fought him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that’s not love, what is?
(Tevye) Then you love me?
(Golde) I suppose I do
(Tevye) And I suppose I love you too
It doesn’t change a thing
But even so
After twenty-five years
It’s nice to know
Retell the Scripture Story
In our gospel lesson today Jesus continues from the story of the “many mansions,” and the statement of being “the way, the truth, and the life.” Our lesson today begins with the conditional clause: “If you love me…” The if/then construction goes like this: If you love me, keep my commandments.
If you are like me, you will immediately think of all the commandments you have broken, and the impossibility of keeping them all. The ten commandments, and all the other laws we have made. We need these laws, but it is the highest law that Jesus is speaking about here and elsewhere in the gospels: the law of love.
If you love me, keep my commandments [to love self, neighbor, and God] and I will send you another Comforter [because I am going away/ my life is almost over] and this Comforter will abide with you forever.
Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God always with us. We will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Christian church on June 8 this year, but of course the Spirit has been present with all creation from the beginning. In Genesis 1:2 we read: And the earth was without form and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved [brooded] upon the face of the waters. [v.3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
This eternal Spirit of comfort was there from the beginning and is with us always. This comfort transcends time and space. It transcends faith and doubt. It is present in all faith traditions. To return to our gospel less, in John 14:17 Jesus says this is the Spirit of truth. As we consider our seeking faith, we always look for love and truth. They go together. Here they are in John’s gospel. Our faith leads us deeper into these mysteries: love and truth.
In verse 19 Jesus, according to John, says: Because I live, you shall live also… You will know that I am in my Father, and you are in my, and I am in you.
This is poetic language. Jesus is trying to tell us something about the final way of things. Jesus saw a deeper and higher reality. He saw that union with God is the true and final resting place for all creation. Sometimes we get a glimpse of that union here on earth. In a good marriage we can glimpse it. In our deepest love relationships: parent and child, marriage partners, perhaps even the gardener’s love of growing things can show us a little of this deep mystery. Jesus told us all he could about love, truth, and the mystic and eternal love in which we live and move.
How should we then live? Let us live each day in the knowledge that God loves us, and all of creation. Let us learn to love ourselves. Let us learn to love others a little better every day. Let us make peace with ourselves and with others. Let us make peace on earth our work and our prayer. Let us work and pray for justice every day, trusting that God is at work with us, and in us. Let us now give in to despair, depression, and fear. Let us live each day in the love and power that God gives us, trusting that the Comforter will come to us [has come to us] and will abide with us forever.
Let us be in prayer.
Joys and Concerns
Congratulations to Heather Damon! Heather graduated from UC Davis with a master degree in social work! We are all pleased and proud of her completion of this program.
Lauren McLeod welcomes your prayers for healing.
Deby McFadyen is asking for prayers for her father, Jack McFadyen, who has lung cancer and will be starting chemotherapy next week. She also requests prayers for a friend, Sara Talkington who has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. She’s married with a 4 year old son.
We offer prayers for Deby as she cares for her father in this difficult time.
Our friend, Arinel Greene, from Easter Hill UMC, is being treated with chemo/radiation for uterine cancer. She is a woman of great faith and welcomes being on our prayer list for healing. If you would like to send her a card: 5326 Conestoga Way, El Sobrante, CA 94803.Please remember her in your prayers.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing.
Robbie Robinson would appreciate your prayers.
Marian Hawkins (a longtime member and participant in the church) died May 22nd after a long decline in her health. She loved to tell stories about her childhood on the Point. She held various church offices and she and her husband, Fay, donated their time and skills to the church. She was in her early nineties. There will be no services per family request. Mid Dornan shared some memories about Marian at Sunday’s Service If you would like to send a card to the family, send to: Sandra Hawkins, 2131 Via Media, Benicia, CA, 94510.
Junktique II was very successful per Fran Smith. We don’t have exact figures as yet but the sale made over $2,400, pancake breakfast over $500 ( with our thanks to Norm and Jean Reynolds for all their work in making it happen) and our Lady Bug ( Ioulia Solovieva) who so much wanted to sell succulents she had started and grown made over $115! Congratulations and thanks to all who participated to make this day a success.It’s all the more special because it comes so close to the huge effort made for Junktique. Special thanks to Fran Smith and Betty Graham! See attachment.
Camp Liberty Update: Iran’s judiciary chief is urging his Iraqi counterpart to extradite the residents of Camp Liberty (3000 people) to Iran for a “fair trial”. Iran is saying they will pardon 423 people after investigation showed they are not guilty of any crimes. In April of this year Iran and Irag signed an understanding which includes the extradition of criminals. This is a serious and life threatening request. Please contact your representatives for intervention: President Obama, 202 456 1414, Vice President Biden, 202 456 1414, Senator Barbara Boxer, 202 224 3553, Senator Diane Feinstein, 202 224 3841, Representative George Miller, 202 225 2095.
The Administrative Board has approved the project to repair the church windows beginning after Junktique II.
Our missionary, Katherine Parker in Nepal, has sent an update on her activities. On a personal level, she is moving into an apartment of her own. Katherine is working as a health advisor in rural Nepal where she works with communities through improving water sanitation, hygiene, food security and nutrition. She has a blog (bokashi.blogspot.com) where you can find information on her recent adolescent sex education class. Donating to support Katherine’s work makes you a partner in improving the quality of life for the less advantaged. Copies of her letter are in Friendship Hall.
A Study and Survey of the Worldwide Nature of the United Methodist Church will be presented by Pastor Dan Damon and Jean Reynolds for four Sundays, May 18 through June 8 during Adult Sunday School 10 am in Friendship Hall. Anyone interested in joining the church is encouraged to come and all are welcome. Recommendations from the class will be presented at General Conference 2016. Weekly topics in order: 1. General Conference, Jurisdictions, and Central Conferences.2. The Book of Discipline.3.Boards, Agencies and Finances. 4. Education of Clergy and Laity. This is an opportunity to have input into proposals and changes
The Administrative Board met Thursday evening, May 8 We are having difficulty meeting our projected costs in the General Budget and have added a column called “How are we doing?” to keep you informed. Our General Fund receipts to date are $31,180. Our budget need is $35,252 which is a $4000 deficit. We count on your generosity to keep us funded and if you haven’t increased your giving, perhaps you would give it consideration. Junktique earnings met our budgeted expectation and Junktique II will add some funds to help with the deficit.
Father’s Day Jazz Service, Sunday, June 15, 11am. The Dan Damon Quartet will present the service with music. Kurt Ribak, bass: Lincoln Adler, sax; Randy O’dell, drums;Dan Damon, piano. Come early to be sure to get a seat.
Labor Day Weekend: August 29 through September 1st 2014, Stepping Out in Faith, sponsored by the Western Methodist Justice Movement which advocates compassionate US immigration policies, fully inclusive UMC ministries, human rights in the Philippines, a just peace for Israel-Palestine, reproductive justice and more.
Registration is open. Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Point Retreat Center. For more info and to register: wmjm.org.
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