Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike…
This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality! --1 Corinthians 15: 35-38, 42-44
Dear Epworth Family,
The scripture above was shared on Tuesday at the graveside memorial of Charley Lerrigo. It is a witness to the resurrection and the life-everlasting, translated in the contemporary and dramatic language that Charley had such facility with in his journalistic writing and plays. It was a privilege to officiate with Rabbi Jhos Singer of Chochmat Halev, the Jewish synagogue in Berkeley where Charley was also active. As our Jewish siblings say, “May his memory be for a blessing.”
This Sunday in worship we’ll be lifting up Charley and all of our saints who have departed from our Epworth community in the last year, and all of the loved ones in our lives who have been and will be forever more saints for us. It will be a special service and I very much look forward to worshipping with you on this All Saints’ Day.
This Sunday is also Commitment Sunday. You are invited to bring your commitment card to the church between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. At the top of the stairs in front of our red sanctuary doors there will be a basket and a host waiting to greet you. You may also mail in your card, or fill out a commitment card online. If you’ve already submitted your card and still want to come to the church and put something symbolic in the basket, you are welcome to do that, too! Thank you for your generous hearts and your commitments which symbolize hope in a tumultuous and challenging time.
As we head into the weekend and begin our work as a polling place on Saturday, I want to say thank you to all of our poll hosts, and to all who are participating in supporting a safe, fair, and democratic election, and for voting your values informed by faith. May we hear God’s voice and do God’s will in all things.
Grace and peace,
Happy October everyone! October is one of my favorite months—it feels like the heart of fall to me, and I love the change in the air.
This Sunday is World Communion Sunday. Though communion is offered every Wednesday evening through Zoom, we will also partake in holy communion this Sunday. Please have your bread or cracker, and some juice of the fruit of the vine ready for this special time. We are also beginning a new series this week entitled Converging Paths: the Way of the Saints. For the next five weeks, we’ll walk the path of five persons of faith who faced adversity and responded in faith. Though they hail from different continents, eras, and are of diverse genders, ages, races and ethnicities, all of their paths converged in God.
I’m excited to begin this series with the story of St. Francis of Assisi, the 12th-13th century priest who has become the patron saint of animals. His feast day is October 4, so around this time of year we often do a blessing of the animals at Epworth. This year, we will have a virtual blessing through a special video created by Sally Nasman. Thanks to Sally and all who shared photos of your beloved animal companions.
Each saint offered a unique gift to God and the community of faith. At the same time that we walk with these saints, we’ll be considering what gifts each of us has to offer to Epworth and to God. The nominations committee is working now to recruit leaders and members of Epworth’s committees and ministries. Are you being called to something? Do you have gifts that you want to put to good use? Please reach out to me or any member of the nominations team (Pat Anderson, Jeff and Cathryn Bruno, Glenn Eagleson, Rema Faiva, Greta Fillingim, and Judy Green) to nominate yourself or another person.
During this series we’ll also be hearing from Epworth members during worship about why they make a financial gift to the church. As we walk this path together, our paths will converge on All Saints’ Day, November 1, which is also Commitment Sunday, with an invitation to each person and family to bring a pledge card to the Epworth front porch between 11am and 2pm. When we are in the sanctuary, we do this during the first hymn. You will also be able to use an online pledge form if you prefer.
Thank you for being a blessing to me and to so many through your giftedness. See you Sunday in worship!