Archive for Pastor’s Weekly Message – Page 2

Peace in the weariness

People of Peace,

How is your waiting going? As we enter into the Second Sunday of Advent, aka Peace Sunday, there is so much conflict going on. There were seven days of truce during the Israel-Hamas conflict for which there was hope of continuation and further releasing of hostages. Failed. The GOP has rejected aid to Ukraine in order to push forward border policies. The US declared that the warring factions in Sudan – the war the world forgot – have committed war crimes.

And a Happy Holiday to you, Michael…

What brings you peace in times of trouble? This week our subtheme is “We find joy in connection.” I believe that is true. In my most trying of times, moments where I have or have wanted to isolate, it has been the accountability through community that has kept despair at bay – moving me back into hope and joy. Isolation builds insulation that prevents accountability. Isolation creates loneliness and intensifies the burdens of life. Isolation breaks the spirit. It is a tactic used by an abuser to maintain power.

Connection. I believe that is the primary reason we come together. We maintain our connection to God through our connection to each other, our seeing God in each other.

This Sunday, we have Rev. Deborah Lee – Executive Director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity – and two people directly impacted by CA detention prisons joining us as we look at Luke 1:24-56 – Mary’s Announcement to Elizabeth and the Magnificat. I hope you will join us on Balclutha, Zoom, or livestream at 10 am. Share with a friend.

Keep connecting!
Rev. Michael Cronin

Hope in the weariness

People of Advent,

As we prepare the way of Advent, there are many reasons that can cause us to be weary. If you are experiencing weariness, is there a particular something you can name as the cause? Of course, the idea of waiting is wearisome.

This first week of our journey calls us to acknowledge our weariness and to enter into hope. Hope sees our past and moves toward our future. It doesn’t require clarity. It relies upon our willingness to step into the mystery.

This Sunday, we will be looking at the rarely used story of Gabriel’s annunciation to Zechariah (Luke 1:1-23). It is a much different experience than that of Mary’s. I look forward to seeing you on Balclutha or Zoom at 10 am.

Yours in weariness and hope,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Grateful

Dear Ones,

Another church year is coming to a close, and Thanksgiving is upon us. We are given the opportunity to reflect upon our lives and give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us, mixed or otherwise. Even in challenging times, there is gratitude to be had. I don’t express that with Pollyanna irrepressible optimism that finds good in everything.

On Monday I was honored and grateful to participate in the San Mateo County Transgender Day of Remembrance. I offered an apology and a promise of solidarity from the faith community in action that will bring the need for this commemoration to an end. You can see the ceremony here Transgender Day of Remembrance 2023 – YouTube.

I am able to speak authentically, not just as a queer man of faith but because of the work that Island United has done in the past and continues to do. I am able to do that because of the trust you put in me to represent with integrity all that Island United is. I thank you.

This Sunday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving in worship. The end of the Church year is commemorated as the Reign of Christ with Matthew 25:31-46, the separation of sheep and goats. I look forward to seeing you at 10 am on Balclutha or Zoom as we look for kernels of thanksgiving and gratitude in this text of judgment. Invite a friend.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Rev. Michael Cronin

Talent on the Set!

Creative Ones,

On Tuesday night, I had the privilege of attending the certificate of completion ceremony and fiesta of English Together Cohort 6. As I have been lifting up, this program is an opportunity to coach immigrant adults in workplace English. No need for knowing Spanish, just a desire to help. It is a ten-week commitment for one hour a weeknight to meet with the learner on Zoom.

At the certificate ceremony, I got to meet my learner and her children while sharing a meal together. There were other coaches and learners with their families and friends attending. As each learner received their certificate of completion, there were picture opportunities and rounds of applause, smiles, and pride in accomplishment. It was fulfilling and, I believe, a use of talent.

We all have talents. What are yours? Are you using them to their fullest potential, or are you burying them – afraid or unwilling to share them? Whatever the case, take the risk and be part of the manifesting of God’s realm here on earth.

This Sunday, we will be reflecting upon Matthew 25:14-30 – you guessed it, the Parable of the Talents. I look forward to seeing you on Balclutha or on Zoom at 10 am. Take a risk and invite a friend.

Keep creating!
Rev. Michael Cronin

Sharing

Beloved Community,

Today, Wednesday, I had the opportunity to share a brown bag lunch hour at the amphitheater in Leo J. Ryan Park with Rabbi Elana of Peninsula Sinai Congregation. She newly arrived just after the swastika incident, and now there is the Israel-Palestine War. Yes, there’s a lot going on.

Today, Wednesday, we sat sharing our stories facing the lagoon and enjoying the beautiful day, the beauty of the park by the serene waters. Our histories, our fears and sorrows, strengths and joys, hopes for that which is yet to come. The beginning of many more years of sharing.

This Sunday, we will reflect upon Matthew 25:1-13, aka “The Parable of the Ten Virgins” through the lens of sharing. Do we have enough? Yes, we do. Do we? We can share it, yet often we say this is mine, not yours. As social animals, our survival is dependent upon sharing – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at 10 am on Balclutha or Zoom.

Share our joy with a friend,
Rev. Michael Cronin

The Thin Veil

Saints,

This past weekend, Island United participated in the Foster City Halloween Spooktacular. It was a beautiful day to be in Leo J. Ryan Park. We had a lot of fun meeting the little, and not so little, ghouls, goblins, princesses, and cows. 

Hallowe’en, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day are a time where the veil between the world of the living and the dead, God’s world and ours, is at its thinnest. The harvest has come, the leaves are returning to the earth, the trees are going dormant. Here, the days are warm and the nights are cold. It is actually my favorite time of year. I think about warm fires and hibernation. 

This Sunday, we observe All Saints Day with a reflection on Matthew 5:1:12 – The Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes. “Blessed are you….” I invite you to bring a picture or a memento of a beloved, living or deceased, in human or other form. We will call it all blessed for we are one in the Spirit and by creation. Invite a friend to join us on 1130 Balclutha or Zoom at 10 am.

Blessings,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Getting Settled

Dear Ones,

I’m still reeling with joy that you unanimously elected me to serve as your settled pastor. I mean, after a two-year lease to own, it seems like we have a good thing going; I also think Brent is REALLY why you’ve decided to buy (wink wink). Twenty-five years ago I wouldn’t have seen myself being in a church much less pastoring one. Blame Jim Mitulski.

I look forward to our coming years together celebrating God, celebrating and building community, and doing the work of God’s grace, mercy, and justice in the world. Roll up your sleeves. Let your light shine!

I also look forward to seeing you on Balclutha or on Zoom at 10 am Sunday as we reflect upon Matthew 22:34-46, “The Greatest and First Commandment.”

Thank you for your confidence in me,
Rev. Michael Cronin 🧡

P.S. If you want to help pass out treats to 450 ghouls, goblins, princesses, and others on Saturday, costume or no costume, please join us at Leo Ryan Park. Set-up is 10 am; event is 11 am to 2:30 pm. 

Worldly Things

Companions on the Journey,

In the New Age world, it is often noted what a gift it is to be in the human body. It is highly prized. Souls are waiting to enter in and have the sensory experiences that the body can offer. And – of course – being in the world has the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly.

This week, we continue to hear about the atrocities in Israel, Gaza, and Palestine. Let us not forget the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, not to mention the conflicts that we don’t hear about. This week, I sent out the notice that IUC’s beloved Becky Guerrero passed (please see funeral details below). Yet, beauty and love do prevail. In the midst of human atrocity and loss, people reach out across differences to help and to remember. We re-member, re-connect toward the greater good.

This Sunday, we will look at Matthew 22:15-22, “Paying Taxes to Caesar”. Since I just filed taxes for 2022, it seems particularly close in the realm of worldly things. The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. 

I look forward to seeing you on Balclutha or Zoom at 10 am Sunday.

Love,
Rev. Michael Cronin

P.S. Don’t forget that there is a Congregational meeting on Sunday!

Peace?

Beloveds,

Since we gathered on Sunday after the announcement of the Hamas’ strike on Israel, there has been an Israeli retaliation in the Gaza Strip. As I write this, there is a body count of 2,300 children of God whose lives have been taken by children of God in the name of God. And God weeps.

In this seemingly intractable situation, it can be hard to find words, and we can be left paralytic with inaction. We sit in shock. In this week’s scripture from the Gospel of Matthew 22:1-14, there is a short sentence: “They were silent.” Rather than be silent, we are called to “clothe ourselves with love” (Col. 3:14) and to take action as each of us is able. To bring peace.

In these days, it is important to surround ourselves with the love community, to realize that community is broader than our walls and geographic location. I invite you to reach out to a friend and invite them to 1130 Balclutha or Zoom this Sunday at 10 am. Rather than being silent, we will pray, sing, and love toward peace.

Shalom,
Rev. Michael Cronin

Harvest

People of God,

It is that time of year! I just got off the phone with my aunt. She told me that at 6:30 Monday morning their Godello (white) grapes were harvested. They hope that, with this heat over the next couple of days, the sugar levels in the Cabernet and Merlot (reds) will come up so they can harvest by the end of the week before the next onslaught of cold weather and rain. Over the years, I have witnessed the detail of care it takes throughout the year toward a bountiful yield. 

The vineyard, the vine, and the branches are major metaphors for our relationship with God and God’s care for us. It seems appropriate that this week we are brought the parable of the landowner and the wicked tenants. With all the political theatre and other human folly over these past weeks, the admonition that the parable brings seems duly appropriate.

I look forward to sharing some thoughts on Matthew 21:33-46 this Sunday at 10 am on Balclutha or on Zoom. Tell a friend.

Share the bounty,
Rev. Michael Cronin

P.S. October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. In honor of our furry friends and family, and all creatures great and small, I offer this blessing: 

Blessed are you, Sovereign God, maker of all living creatures.
You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air, and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his siblings.
We ask you to bless our pets.
Cover them with of the power of your love
May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Sovereign God, in all your creatures! Amen.