Oakland church

Archive for Mary Oliver

Easter Renewal

After last week’s rain drenched, cloudy days it’s been a joy to hike in the Oakland hills; breathing in the fragrances of pine and eucalyptus, and to behold the vibrant orange California poppies contrasted with the fresh green grassy fields. We enter the season of celebrating fertility, new life, and hope that follows the season of darkness and death. May we hold onto the paradox of this season, and enter into the beauty of its mysteries. 

Join us for a beautiful Good Friday service this Friday at 7 pm, of candlelight, music, and readings, drawing parallels between the seven last words of Jesus and those of the Rev. Dr. MLK Junior, honoring the 50th anniversary of the assassination of this great prophet of our times. 

Join us also to celebrate Easter at 6:30 am for a sunrise service with the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus.  Or come to our 10 am Easter service with drama and our amazing choir, guest percussionist and alto sax player.  Right afterwards is our annual Easter egg hunt.

Enjoy this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver, entitled Mysteries, Yes.

love, Pastor Laurie 

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Baptism of the Rain

It certainly is a rainy start to 2017, isn’t it? 

It’s a wonderful opportunity to relax, focus our energies within. 

I invite you to simply listen to the rains, reminding us of not only nature’s resiliency, but our own. 

This Sunday, very much related to this theme of living waters, we will be renewing our baptismal vows. I will have a strange and beautiful story to share with you about a baptismal experience I had in Point Reyes this past week. 

I am sharing with you some photos from this trip, and a poem about the rains by Mary Oliver. 

May the rains renew your souls this week.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Mary Oliver’s “The Journey”

Dr. Rev. Laura Barnes included this poem in her ideas for her talk on Aug 9.  It’s one of my favorite poems, and I’m delighted to share it with you. As you read, consider a journey you are on – a change in relationship,  a new job, leaving home for the first time, choosing a spiritual path, etc. and see if Mary Oliver’s words inspire or reflect your experience.

“The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
 Mary Oliver

Dr. Rev. Laura Barnes and Rev. Nancy McKay will be preaching while Pastor Laurie is on vacation.

With Joy,

Nancy Montier, Office Manager