Recent Thoughts & Reflections Blog Posts
When you think of “welcome”, what image comes to your mind? Maybe you picture a doormat in front of someone’s house. Or maybe a “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign when you cross into that state. My mind goes to an image we don’t see enough on the news – that is of our service men and women coming home to their families, and being received with long embraces.
Welcoming people was a big deal in the times of the Bible. That explains why there are eleven verbs in the Scriptures that can be translated as “to welcome.” In ancient times strangers depended on someone else’s hospitality. It was a basic rule that they were to be received with respect and kindness. It was also a spiritual exercise, because your guests brought something of God’s presence to you.
In the Hispanic tradition, there is a wonderful Advent tradition called “Las Posada”. The word “posada” means shelter. Adults and children take on the role of Mary and Joseph, and for nine nights prior to Christmas, they process through the neighborhood to stop at designated stations. These are homes that represent the innkeeper. At each encounter, they exchange ancient words.
Joseph says, “In the name of God, we ask those who dwell here to give some travelers lodging this evening.” And then, from the inside, voices say, “No, no! Move on! This is not an inn. We’re not going to open. You may turn out to be scoundrels.” Each evening the voices get louder. Then, on the 9th night, which is Christmas, the innkeeper finally opens up his stable, and his humble posada becomes the birthplace of Jesus.
Dear friends in Christ,
I want to reach out to you to share two matters of concern and interest. The first is to ask you to please pray for the victims of the bomb attack in Manchester, England, last evening, and to ask for healing and hope for that country in shock. May God grant us grace and wisdom to live from the deepest conviction of our faith, that love triumphs over evil.
Second is ask you to consider joining in a movement called, "A Call to Fasting, Prayer, and Action". I, as your pastor and priest, signed on personally a few days ago, at the invitation of a faith based organization that I have admired for decades, but yesterday I was pleased to discover that both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church are asking their membership to consider becoming involved.
The focus of this intentional action is to stand with the poor and the powerless in the face of the deep budget cuts being proposed in Federal spending for programs that are essential to their (and our) lives. Health, food, housing, social services and education, are all slated to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts by the Congress, even as taxes are reduced for those who are well off.
If you know about fear - and I know you all do - then the Gospel story about Jesus passing through the doors that the disciples had barred after their Master’s death, is for you. It tells us that the Risen Lord loves you, and will stop at nothing to bring you peace and wholeness.
This story contains an important detail. The living Jesus breathes on his disciples. It was like a rebirth. Just as in the beginning, God’s divine breath changed a lifeless earthling into a living being, now the Spirit enters the disciples to transform them into the living, active body of Christ empowered to continue the work Jesus began.
Elections were held and our new junior warden is Jose Ramirez. Rosa Briones, Patricia Lourdes Hernandez, and Edith Montoya will serve a second term on the vestry. Ingrid Villela was newly elected as a vestry member.
Se celebraron elecciones y nuestro nuevo Guardian Menor es José Ramírez. Rosa Briones, Patricia Lourdes Hernández, y Edith Montoya servirán un segundo término en la junta parroquial. Ingrid Villela fue nuevamente elegida miembro de la junta parroquial.
St. Matthew’s/San Mateo invites you to its English language worship during the Season of Lent. Join us in seeking to be spiritually restored by turning from our distractions, to following Christ in loving God and our neighbor more wholeheartedly.
From Sunday, March 5 through Sunday, April 2
Worship with Holy Communion, 10:00 am
“How Shall We Come Before the Lord? Doing justice,
Loving mercy, and Walking humbly with God”
March 5, How Shall We Come Before the Lord?
March 12, God’s People Come Doing Justice
March 19, God’s People Come Loving Mercy
March 26 English/Spanish worship@11:00 AM
followed by ANNUAL MEETING
April 2, Walking Humbly with God
Dear members and friends of St. Matthew’s/San Mateo,
I invite you whole heartedly to our English language worship in February, African American History Month. To honor this special month on our national calendars, we will be singing a repertoire of much loved Gospel hymns and Spirituals as a way of recognizing, and rejoicing in, the living musical legacy of the African American Community to the worship life of the Church.
So, come and sing your hearts out, and be blessed in singing such cherished hymns as "Lead Me, Guide Me", "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light", and "It is Well with My Soul."
English language worship takes place every Sunday, at 10 am.
Yours in Christ,
In the final days of December, our Gospel readings hinted at the critical issues that Joseph and Mary faced as Mary’s pregnancy became known. The couple was not married yet. Mary hadn’t yet moved to live together with Joseph in his home. So their situation was shameful. Everyone in the small town of Nazareth would come to hear about it, and their families would have to deal with the cultural norm that demanded a divorce.
I, for one, love this season. I love its liturgical color (purple), the gradually growing light of the candles on the Advent wreath even while the daylight grows shorter, and its invitation to slow down. I welcome its call to spend more time in prayer and devotional reading, and to become more attentive to what God has to teach us in the incarnation.