A Message from Pastor Kaji

March 7th,2024 Categories: Weekly Letter

Sunday March 10

Click here for Pastor Kaji’s sermon “Study War No More” from last Sunday

Dear Church:

This week, we head into what will be our last full Lenten Sunday. What do I mean by this? This is the fourth week of Lent – Laetare (rejoicing) Sunday. Our text this week comes from 1 Kings 17. As I read it, I think of the desperate widow who believes that she has almost nothing. She’s ready to give up. And I wonder about times when we might’ve thought we only had 2 sticks ourselves. I also wonder about how she must have felt at Elijah’s request. Did it seem…too much? Or did she feel the right kind of challenge? Last week, I shared a couple of articles I was in conversation with as I prepared for worship, and this week I’ll share this one by Victor Lodato. The author’s story doesn’t precisely mirror our widow’s, but there are some resonances – particularly around coming out of grief and despair. Reading the text along with the isolation he so eloquently describes, I wonder if Elijah’s gift was…more than food. Food for thought, if you will.

There’s so much rich spiritual work to be done with this passage – it’s a tragic but miraculous story that speaks to so many powerful truths about our God. I think that what we encounter in the text is such an important reminder about God’s provision. So I can’t wait to explore it with you as we rejoice in what God is doing and has done and will do in our times of deepest need. 

Then, next Sunday (our first in Spring!), we continue with this theme of huge requests (made of women!) as we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation – or the time when the Angel Gabriel visited the unwed, teenage Mary to tell her the big news. Why do this now? Annunciation is a fixed date: the Sunday closest to March 25. Would you like to hazard a guess of why this would be the date? If you’re thinking Christmas, you’re correct. Tradition holds plenty of lore around the significance of Christ being conceived around the vernal equinox, as well. My dear hope is that we all are visited with good news as Spring springs in 2024.

Speaking of which, please do note that Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday. You’ll want to be sure to get to bed nice and early so that you won’t miss church.

After worship Sunday, we will present everything you need to know to prepare for our Congregational Vote on the 17th. Please do stick around after worship for fellowship and our important presentation. Your leadership has been hard at work stewarding the incredible financial and human resources embedded in this community. So if you see one of your elected leaders, please do thank them!

Coming soon: please look for information for our upcoming drive to support the NY Common Pantry. We’d love to encourage you to bring in nonperishables as part of your offering. We will have more information about what to pick up – and how to donate – in the news to come.

Finally (phew!) please pray for our team: a few of us who have been advocating in support of our brother, Ravi Ragbir, have finally (after about 10 years) secured a meeting at the White House next week to advocate for a presidential pardon. (This is my first visit to the White House since Kindergarten, y’all!)  You will remember Ravi from the many times he has worshiped with us, educated us, advocated for immigrants and struggled with his own case. I know you’ll join me in great hope that Ravi and his family will finally be able to put this chapter behind them so that he can continue his incredible ministry without the fear of deportation.

As you can see, there is much happening in the life of our church, thanks be to God. I can’t wait to see you on Sunday!
Pax Christi,
Pastor Kaji


1 Kings 17:8–16 (Year B, p. 85):

8 The word of the HOLY ONE to Elijah was, 9 “Get up, go to Zarephath, which is part of Sidon, and settle there; watch now, I have commanded a widow woman there to provide for you.” 10 And Elijah got up and went to Zarephath. Then he came to the gate of the town, and look! a widow woman was there gathering sticks; so he called to her and said, “Bring me, please, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 She went to bring it, and he called to her and said, “Bring me, please, a bit of bread in your hand.” 12 Then she said, “As the HOLY ONE your God lives, if I had a cake. There is only a handful of flour in a jar, and a little oil in a jug. Now look, I am gathering two sticks, then I will go home and prepare the oil and flour for myself and for my child; we will eat it, and we will die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said, only make me a little cake of it and bring it to me first, then make something for yourself and your child afterwards. 14 For thus says the HOLY ONE the God of Israel: The jar of flour will not empty and the jug of oil will not decrease until the day that the HOLY ONE grants rain upon the earth.” 15 She went and she did as Elijah said, and she and he, and her household, ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour did not empty and the jug of oil did not decrease according to the word of the HOLY ONE that God spoke through Elijah.