A Message from Pastor Kaji

October 12th,2023 Categories: Weekly Letter

Sunday October 15

Click Here for Pastor Kaji’s Sermon “Matthew 25 Christians” from last Sunday

Dear Church:
Like so many of you, my heart breaks at the outbreak of war in the Holy Land. Since the attacks on Saturday’s Jewish celebration of Sukkot, I have been in close touch with Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli leaders here in New York City with expressions of love, prayers for safety and peace, and tangible ways that we can be supportive. Many people close to our community have loved ones who have faced unthinkable violence as war unfolds. Our proximity to these communities brings the realities of war home to us, here in New York City.

This will continue to show up at home, in our children’s schools, in our workplaces, in our friendships, in our communities. I have already watched some relationships dissolve under the pressures of disagreement on the complexities at play here. If you are open to advisement on this, I’d suggest that as we find ourselves in conversation about this, I encourage those of us who are not directly impacted to do more listening than talking, more hearing than saying, more learning than assuming that we know. I’d encourage prioritizing our relationships, because they are precious and in some cases, fragile. And: I’d encourage deep, deep prayer. If others are open to it, even offer to pray with them. Prayer with action bring peace, which we so desperately need.

If I can help you process any of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

On a completely different note, I continue to bask in the joy of our Homecoming celebration last Sunday! Thank you to everyone who gave of themselves to bring such a warm spirit of hospitality. I’m thrilled that we were able to welcome two new people into membership, as well. If joining the church is on your heart, please let me know in worship. We would be honored to share with you in our collective journey to follow Jesus.

This Sunday, we are back in the Gospel of Matthew, in a passage that finds Jesus at home, frustrated. It is a very relatable passage, for many reasons. My sermon will reflect on the experience of being unheard. As you prepare for worship, I encourage you to think of times when you could relate to Jesus, and other times when you could relate to the people who couldn’t hear them. We experience both, and there are lessons in this passage for us that we’ll consider, together. This will be a Sunday when I will take some rest after a very intense past few weeks, so you’ll hear my reflections on screen in the sanctuary and online. Many thanks to the Elders for their continued, faithful leadership!

I can’t wait for our community to worship together again. You inspire me every day.

Pastor Kaji

Scripture: Matthew 13:54-58 (Year A, p. 496):
54 Jesus came to his hometown and began to teach the women and men in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these powers? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? From where then did this one get all this?” 57 And they were offended over him. But Jesus said to them, “Are prophets dishonored except in their hometown and in their own house?” 58 And he did not there do many works of power because of their unbelief.