A Message from Pastor Kaji

November 30th,2023 Categories: Weekly Letter

Dear Church:

It’s s Advent! Thank you all who stayed after church, offered donations and for all of the other generous ways you supported the congregation to get the church ready for the season. The space looks beautiful, thanks to you. Thanks also to the Elders for their worship leadership while I had my customary time of rest for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I pray that you had a beautiful holiday. 

This season, of course, can be beautiful, but can also carry its complications. I want to acknowledge that, and invite conversations with you. If you are seeking pastoral support, I am here for you, the ministers of the church – which is all of us – are here for you. We are in it together.

I am very much looking forward to worship this Sunday for Advent I. Our gorgeous text is from Romans. When I chose this text for Advent I, which I’ve never preached on for this day, I knew that I would be preaching it on the Sunday immediately following World AIDS Day. This is not an accident. I’m particularly inspired by the phrase: “they will not be put to shame.” When I think about the language of shame that has been employed around the AIDS crisis, historically, and, quite frankly, the truly shameful behavior society, government and culture took in response to the AIDS crisis, I humbly learn so much. Many of you were involved in crucial ministries to combat that shame and stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, and I want to recognize you. Thank you.

In honor of this, our church has built a relationship with the Gay Center and tomorrow will be hosting a fabulous drag ball for World AIDS Day! Please come! If you are interested in attending, tickets are available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 6 PM. I anticipate that the church will be fuller than I have ever seen it, so please plan accordingly. We would love to see you! (And, if you can, wear a pop of red!)

As you prepare for worship on Sunday, I invite you to consider the ways in which you have experienced salvation. When have you felt God saving you from something? What do you need to be saved from now?

That second question makes this text from Romans particularly relevant for the Advent season. Part of our spiritual life is that we look to God for what’s next. We all need deliverance from something.

I pray that we can all come to church on Sunday ready to ask God to deliver the next thing God intends for our lives. I can’t wait to see you in church.

Pax, Christi, 
Pastor Kaji

Romans 10:9-13 (Year B, p. 6):9 If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Sovereign and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a woman or man believes and is made righteous, and with the mouth a person confesses and so is saved. 11 Indeed, the scripture says, “one who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek because the same Sovereign is sovereign over all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Sovereign shall be saved.”