Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Transformation & Rebirth: The Wisdom of the Mystics
“When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die”
― Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor
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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Transfiguration …the indescribable mystery and beauty of standing upon the mountaintop, in radiant glory and seeing for one brief moment the place where heaven meets earth, God incarnate. Savor the words of Pulitzer prize winning poet Mary Oliver, that speaks of our desire to behold Jesus, in the flesh.
Blessings upon your week,
The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist – by Mary Oliver
Something has happened
To the bread
And the wine.
They have been blessed.
The body leans forward
To receive the gift
From the priest’s hand,
Then the chalice.
They are something else now
From what they were
Before this began.
To see Jesus,
Maybe in the clouds
Or on the shore,
On the hard days
I ask myself
If I ever will.
Also there are times
My body whispers to me
That I have.
Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This Sunday we have a another wonderful service of moving music and drama as we explore the journey of our lives.
In a sense, we are moved like sailors on the ocean of life by the real but invisible presence of the winds and guided by the heavenly lights of the sun, moon and stars, as we travel to new and distant shores.
We are on the journey together as individuals, together as families, and together as a faith community.
I encourage you all to come together for our retreat this Sunday after worship! Lunch and childcare is provided.
In thinking about the journey, I am reminded of how often Jesus repeated to his followers, “Fear not, I am with you always”. I am also reminded of this beautiful reflection on the importance of cultivating peace on the sometimes perilous journey. It is by Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, written during the Vietnam war:
The Three Gems
Many of us worry about the situation of the world. We don’t know when the bombs will explode. We feel that we are on the edge of time. As individuals, we feel helpless, despairing. The situation is so dangerous, injustice is so widespread, the danger is close. In this kind of a situation, if we panic, things will only become worse. We need to remain calm, to see clearly. Meditation is to be aware, and to try to help.
I like to use the example of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Siam. In Vietnam, there are many people, called boat people, who leave the country in small boats. Often the boats are caught in rough seas or storms, the people may panic, and boats may sink. But if even one person aboard can remain calm, lucid, knowing what to do and what not to do, he or she can help the boat survive. His or her expression – face, voice – communicates clarity and calmness, and people have trust in that person. They will listen to what he or she says. One such person can save the lives of many.
Our world is something like a small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We are about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea. You know that we have more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. Humankind has become a very dangerous species. We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person. (p. 11-12)
Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Greetings from chilly New England!
The day after snowstorm Hercules blanketed us with over a foot of snow, we were greeted with clear blue skies. Sunshine sparkled on the pristine snow and shimmering waters of Narragansett Bay, as we drove to my beloved Aunt’s funeral service at the monastery in my home town.
It reminded me of the promise of the new year, of baptism and of new life, for her and for us all.
May it be so with each one of us,
Blessings, Pastor Laurie
Ascribe to God, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to God glory and strength.
Ascribe to God the glory of God’s name;
worship God in holy splendor.
The voice of God is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
God, over mighty waters.
The voice of God is powerful;
the voice of God is full of majesty.
The voice of God breaks the cedars;
God breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
God makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of God flashes forth
in flames of fire.
The voice of God shakes the wilderness;
God shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of God causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in God’s temple all say, ‘Glory!’
God sits enthroned over the flood;
God sits enthroned as ruler forever.
May God give strength to the people!
May God bless the people with peace!
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2014
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16131#sthash.CsiNzbnu.EeFw2ISj.dpuf
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Thanksgiving for Downtown Oakland
Each year, the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day, folks from all over the Oakland community gather to serve the homeless, elderly, those in need, at Lake Merritt U.M. Church, located in downtown Oakland. On the day before, beginning at 7:00 a.m., volunteers arrive to prepare the turkeys for baking. Turkeys are usually in the ovens (first round) by 8:30 or earlier. All volunteers are welcome to help!
On Thanksgiving morning, volunteers start arriving around 8:30 a.m. to set the tables, help with food preparation, etc. Dinner service begins at 1:00 (if you want to help serve dinner, please try to arrive at 12:30 – there is an orientation session so you know what to do), and goes until 3:00 or 3:30, and “take home” boxes are given out, plus the bags of turkey carcasses at around 2:30 – 3:00. After the meal is done, all leftover food is taken to a Homeless Shelter in downtown Oakland (where it is greatly welcomed). The last group of volunteers cleans up, runs the dishwashers, mops the floors, puts tables away and is done around 5:00 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please see me – you are welcome to come for an hour or more – whatever suits your schedule.
Most food for this feast is donated: turkeys, potatoes, beans, rolls, salad, and pies – some is purchased from the Alameda County Food Bank, the rest is either by donation of items or money. Last year we served close to 700 meals, including take-home, and anticipate the need will be greater this year. We at Skyline have been asked to help provide pies! All pies are welcome – (hopefully not all pumpkin). They can be homemade, purchased frozen and cooked, purchased ready to serve, etc. (We can’t use frozen, uncooked pies as all the ovens are in use for preparing the rest of the dinner.) We need to furnish at least 35 pies (more would be better). I will deliver the pies around 10:00 on Thanksgiving Day – please see me to arrange when and where you want to bring your pies. There will be a sign-up sheet which I will have each Sunday beginning November16th. Thank you so much for agreeing to aid this project!
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
This Christmas Eve, come experience the wonder of our candlelight service celebrating the birth of Jesus with carols, anthems, scripture lessons, and instrumental music. The service will be followed by delicious Christmas treats, hot apple cider, and fellowship.
This is a beautiful way to celebrate the season with your entire family. ALL are welcome!
December 24th at 7:00 pm
For more information please contact the office at 510.531.8212
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Interfaith Solstice Service & Taize
TIME TO BE DETERMINED
Worship service of music, words, light and hope.
We are most keenly aware of the extended darkness when we struggle with grief, or loneliness, or weariness. It’s a challenge to keep our spirits up when the public mood is jolly! Welcome to a place where you can be yourself and feel however you really feel. The purpose of the service is to remind us that we are not alone in our struggles. We are here to remember that God is with us and to bring Light of the World into the longest night. Come experience this beautiful evening that will bring you hope. We encourage you to invite those you know will benefit from this experience.
Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
This weekend at Skyline, in our women’s retreat on Saturday and again in Sunday worship, we are re-examining the powerful mythology of creation, the story of Adam and Eve, and how it continues to shape our views of God and of ourselves.
I love the story of Nancy, a fourth grader whose Sunday school teacher asked her to draw a picture of something from the book of Genesis. Nancy drew a picture of a white stretch limousine. A middle-aged man drove the car and a scantily clad couple sat in the back of the limo. “Why Nancy”, exclaimed the Sunday school teacher, “I asked you to draw something from the book of Genesis!”
“But I did, I drew this limousine”, responded Nancy.
“To which passage can you possibly be referring to, Nancy?” asked the teacher. Nancy thumbed through the bible until she found the passage, Genesis 3: 24: “and God drove out Adam and Eve from the garden”.
Yes, God drove out Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, from paradise, and ever since, we have referred to that passage in Genesis as the “fall” or as “original sin”. The story implies that God is male and demands obedience, and that woman, since Eve, is the source of temptation and evil.
The story of our origins have a profound influence on how we see ourselves. For ½ of the human population, (i.e. women) this interpretation is unhealthy. Imagine, if as a parent you were to tell your daughter how bad and sinful and evil and rotten she is every day of her life, it would create a dysfunctional child. If as a parent, you were to tell your daughter how wonderful, incredible, and good she is, you would most likely create a healthy child.
How do we re-understand this powerful myth of our origins and of our relationship with God in more life giving ways? How do we re-understand Eve’s choice as the desire for knowledge of the difference between good and evil? How do we re-imagine God as other than and more than a male authority? How do we shake the foundation of patriarchy, which adapts theology to justify hierarchy and power over others?
I believe that we begin by asking such questions and listening for the still-speaking God within us and all around us; especially in the voices of women, as well as men, and all those who have been marginalized. And we remember from the first genesis story the vision that God created them, male and female, in the image of God, and then said, “It is very good”.
Marianne Williamson writes, about her own struggle to overcome fear and shame, in part brought forth by such marginalization. She writes, in her book, ”A return to Love”, about “Our deepest fear”..
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others”.
Poet and artist Judy Chicago writes, about re-imagining the mythology of Adam and Eve, in life giving ways, and new creation that will come forth, out of it, in her poem, entitled, “And Then”..
“And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will cherish life’s creatures
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.
Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
6th Annual Sierra Leone Benefit Bike Ride!
Saturday, October 12th, 2013 ~ 8:30 AM (Depart at 9:00 AM)
Skyline Community Church, 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA
Last year, our fundraiser funded several school teachers and a college student for the entire year!
100% of your donation will go towards their education and supplies.
There will be different ride options for varying levels:
The shorter ride starts in Castro Valley (people will carpool from church) and goes out Cull Canyon Rd and back. This road is suitable for a family ride with kids as it is fairly gentle uphill on the way out with very little traffic. We hope to have a water/snack stop at Rancho de los Amigos on Cull Canyon Rd. 1st time and less experienced riders are encouraged to join in for that leg of the ride. Cull Canyon Rd is an easy slight grade uphill country road that goes out 5 miles and back is downhill all the way.
The longer ride goes to the end of Cull Canyon Rd, in total a 45 mile ride, which can be cut short at the Golf Course on Redwood Rd (26 miles) or Bort Meadow (18 miles). Please forward to your pals to come along for the fun!
Chili & Fritatta served after the ride at the church!
Suggested $10 donation for the ride. You can also sponsor a child in furthering their education to go to college *covering housing, tuition, books, and food for a year) for $1,000! Note on check in the memo section: “Sierra Leone” or “Sierra Leone College Fund.”
Contact: Marilyn Shaw (510) 531-3353 or by email
Click the link below to see a video of the children in Sierra Leone!
Thank You From the Children