Blog: “Dispatch from the Edge”: February 3, 2017

Blog Post Author

Anita Sorenson

February 3, 2017    4th week after Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth...
 
This is a scandalous, difficult prayer, isn't it? To affirm that God rules over the world, even when we encounter much in the world that is at odds with God, with justice, with what is right and true and good. Of course, this is no unique or modern dilemma. When we look to the prayers and the Scriptures emerging from our Israelite forefathers and foremothers, we find a people who faced evils unfamiliar to most of us (Babylonian captivity, genocide, political annihilation, the boot of the Roman Empire, long seasons of extreme economic and agricultural insecurity) and yet who still announced, through their prophets and their Psalms, a relentless reliance on the ultimate rule of God. This was their hope, their faith, their appeal. And of course, it was the same for the early church; the martyrs do not tell us a story of evil avoided but of their hope in the One who is greater than evil. 
 
Were these ones who came before us only simpleminded people clinging to fanciful truths because their reality was too difficult to bear? On top of the arrogance of such an idea, even more, it denies the complexity of the Biblical witness, the struggling, the returning again and again to this God who is Lord over the world even amid great turmoil and distress. It seems that for God to be God while also allowing for grace, for human failings, for freedom, for true love, there are moments where, for a season at least, God determines to not get what God wants (and what God will ultimately have). Is this not why we pray for God's kingdom to come on earth as it already is in heaven? Don't we pray these audacious words because God's kingdom has not yet come in fullness? 
 
God's answer to our dilemma (the reality of evil even while God governs all things) was not to provide a philosophical answer or any divine rationale but rather God's answer was Jesus: the one who came and entered our evil, the one who suffered with us and for us. 
 
Indeed, in Jesus, God governs all things both in heaven and on earth. This is our hope. This we pray. This we believe.
 
Grace and Peace,
 
Anita Sorenson
Pastor for Spiritual Formation
 

Keep these opportunities to gather together in mind over the next few weeks:

Family-Friendly Potluck: February 5th
The next Small Community Family-Friendly Potluck is this Sunday, February 5, at the home of the Heuers. This will be a break from the normal format:  we are doing a Super Bowl potluck dinner and hanging out with some people watching the game. Everyone is welcome any time after 3pm as kickoff is at 3:30pm. Please contact Melissa for directions to their home and to coordinate your potluck item (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)). 
 
Men’s Book Club: February 9th
The Men's Book Club will discuss EINSTEIN AND RELIGION, by Max Jammer, on Thursday, Feb 9, 7pm at the Corner House. The author, a contemporary physicist colleague, recounts Einstein's approach to religion and his belief structures, and how these informed his science. For more information, please contact Rich Doyle at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
 
Philip Yancey at Lake Avenue Church: February 10th
On February 10, renowned author Philip Yancey will be speaking at Lake Avenue Church at 7pm. The event is free. For more details, please contact Anita Sorenson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
 
Potluck Luncheon with the Duttons: February 12th
Come and join Peter and Ruthie Dutton, long-time Pasadena Covenant members and cross-cultural workers, after worship, Sunday, Feb. 12, in the Fireside Room (in the gym building). Learn about their work in Thailand and how God is moving. It’s a salad potluck lunch so please bring a salad or dessert to share. For more info, contact Kim Dorman .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
 
Urban Ministries Team Meeting: February 13th
UMT meets Monday, Feb. 13, at 6:45pm in the Santa Barbara Room. We will discuss our Lenten Neighboring focus (Feb. 25th Neighborhood Treasure Hunt & April 22nd Neighborfest BBQ) & refugee resettlement update. For info: Brenda Thomas (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).
 
Third Thursday Potluck: February 16th
The Third Thursday Potluck will be on Thursday, February 16th, 6pm at the Aoki's home.
 
The Nixon Group: February 17th
The Nixon Group will be on Friday, February 17th, 6pm. Location rotates, so contact Steve or Nancy Stuckey.
 
Baked Potato Night: February 19th
Baked Potato Night will be on Sunday, February 19th, 4pm. Location TBD, so contact Chuck or Terry Fields
 
Lenten Focus: Neighborhood Listening
During Lent our all-church, inter-departmental emphasis will be on listening to our neighbors.
 
Neighborhood Treasure Hunt  
Sat., Feb. 25th • 10-2 pm • Gathering Place
For the whole church—all ages!
Explore our neighborhood to find hidden treasures we overlook every day (there will be shorter & longer walks available). Bring $$ for lunch as we'll eat out. We'll finish our fun event by "mapping" our neighborhood & choosing new spiritual disciplines of listening & noticing.
   • Feb. 26th thru April 15: Lenten disciplines: groups of 2 or more practice disciplines to notice & listen.
   • 9 am Sundays, Feb. 26th thru April 9th: Journey to the Cross, photo edition! PasCov youth team up with kids' for photo scavenger hunts; bring a digital camera.
   • Neighborhood BBQ: Sat., April 22nd 10-2 pm: We will invite our neighbors to join us for a BBQ in the parking lot. We need lots of volunteers to help!
 
Sanctuary of Women: March 5 - April 16
Images of God in Scripture include feminine metaphors as a midwife, a woman in labor, and a breastfeeding mother. Join us for a prayerful, contemplative 7 week class in the Corner House (starting March 5 and culminating on Easter Sunday, April 16) in which we hope to center ourselves on these feminine metaphors and connect with Mother God in new ways. More information will follow soon, but please contact Brittany Burian (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))  or Lisa Carruthers (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) with questions or if childcare is needed.
 
Upcoming Preacher Schedule:
February 5th – Kurt Fredrickson
February 12th – Ron Short
February 19th – Ron Short