Stuck

Stuck

Deserts seem to come and go as you journey along. Deserts can be defined as those places where you feel “stuck”, bewildered, firmly positioned in place, blocked, angry, envious, discontented, not seeming to progress, or simply “Blah!” You long for an oasis, a place of cooling shade, a refreshing taste of water on your parched tongue, a resting place for your weary heart. What to do?

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Holy Spirit Doves, Chicks, and Parakeets

Holy Spirit Doves, Chicks, and Parakeets

In recent weeks we have been raising baby chicks at Clivie’s school. It has been a community endeavor. We all watched with breath held and eyes wide open as the little cracks appeared in the eggs, and the chicks wriggled out one by one. We have carefully adjusted the temperature, fed them, and watched them grow. For me, the chicks were the perfect embodiment of the new life of the season of Easter.

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How Cool Is That!

How Cool Is That!

“How cool is it that the same God who created Mountains & Oceans,& Galaxies, looked at you & thought the world needed One of You TOO!”

 I don’t know whose quote that is, but it certainly made me stop and smile. It also made me think about that concept for a while. Imagine a world where we all believed that God thought that the world needed each one of us. Imagine if we all believed that. Imagine that this same concept applies to every single molecule of creation as we know it.

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She Was Beautiful

"She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn't beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful deep down to her soul."  F. Scott Fitzgerald

 I saw this quote, and it drew me in. I wondered how many of us really look at each other.  Do I even take the time, when I look people in the eye, to see who they are, how they are, or even gather them into my heart? We human beings are a strange people. Somehow we get into worrying so much about ourselves that we forgot that we came to be who we are by caring, communicating, meeting, playing, working, believing, and being with each other. Then, I look at the city, county, state, country, and world, and I think to myself, why am I surprised that peace seems all but impossible?  

Why does my heart ache when I read the news and see pictures of people in harm’s way who suffer daily without having what they need just to survive? How can any of us sit idly by and merely worry, or just talk about how senseless things are, - while condemning those who make laws, decisions and move in unjust ways - without at least making phone calls, writing letters or offering to listen to those who are working to make a difference? This is not to say that any of us, including myself, are doing nothing. 

Why are we so afraid of those who are different than we are, that in reality, we don’t have a smile or a hello for them? Are we so afraid of the unknown that we choose not to even read about different religions, other cultures, our history, or our politics? Fear shouldn’t stop us, and we don’t have to let it.

We just had a week where we relived the life of a man whom we choose to follow. Did He take away the sting of a crown of thorns?  Did He make the whips like noodles? Did He make the people choose Barabbas? Did He make the cross lighter? No, He said yes to the whole horrible experience. In the heart of His own suffering, Jesus had time for the others who were being hung on crosses. Can you imagine the strength and courage it took to do that?

My Easter Season will be spent being more aware of others, making a difference where I can, and acknowledging everyone I see, pass, and meet. I hope I can make it a habit so that when an injustice is done to me, I will hold my head high, have patience, not give in, and God willing, see whatever it is, through to a just and peaceful end.

What are you going to do this Easter Season?          -Chris L.

 

Women of Integrity

Women of Integrity

On the International Day of Women, I reflected on the women who have gone before me and helped make me who I am. I don’t want to write about the women who were famous “first” women or those who fought for and won rights for women. I know I owe them gratitude for a multitude of rights that I take for granted. I won’t even write about my mother and my grandmothers, or this article would get much too long. Instead, I would like to remember those “other” women who touched my life and formed me.

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TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO LIVE INTO OUR UCH & UCC VALUES

TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO LIVE INTO OUR UCH & UCC VALUES

1)   Make Time for Our Still Speaking God. God wants to be in conversation with us. There is grace to be found, especially when things are chaotic. Pray and meditate each day. Pray for our Nation and our Nation’s leaders. Pray for Rev. Jeanne and the Council. Pray for the Care Team and for God to show up in your life and give you strength. Come to Soothing Sanctuary.  Talk to God about what you are being called to do and how you can make a difference. Creating a daily prayer practice is an act of Social Justice.

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Hayward Day Labor Center Closes

Hayward Day Labor Center Closes

After serving Alameda County laborers for almost ten years, the Hayward Day Labor Center had to close on January 31, 2017. The Day Labor Center (DLC) lost its fiscal agent and, due in part to cash flow problems caused by how grants are awarded and when they are paid out, it could not find a new fiscal agent. This is a great loss for Southern Alameda County and Hayward in particular. Some statistics based on a report by Gabriel Hernandez, the director, follow.

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Seasons

Seasons

  The cold days of Winter are here. You don’t need to look out the window or watch the evening news to know that a dark cloud has fallen over our beloved community. Just down Mission Blvd. in Union City the Meyers Garden at Dry Creek remains dormant in the brisk breeze. But even with the chill in the air we can take comfort in the promise that Spring can’t be too far behind.

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