Pastor’s Prose

Clare’s Corner

To view 2019 year’s prose click here

To view 2018 year’s prose click here

To view 2017 year’s prose click here

2020 Jan 20 – 27

Good Morning Dear Ones,

As I write this I am trying to map out my day. I have a lot to do today in terms of worship planning for the next weeks and months and with regard to the upcoming SC2ER programming. I put this day aside to get a good handle on some work things. Of course, the MLK breakfast is this am at CC and I am without a ticket–not a bad thing at all: it sold out in 3 days! And there is a march at 10 AM and I am still debating whether to attend. I am sitting in the tension of how much I can do and how I should do it!!

And isn’t this always true? When we are called to do the work of the church, and to getting involved in Justice work there is always something to do. I think our tendency is to think we are supposed to do it all ourselves which is, at the very least, incredibly overwhelming. Often, rather than take on something we dismiss it all, believing that our contribution is useless. And truthfully, if we all let that direct us, nothing would ever get done!

The stories of Jesus calling followers-disciples-reminds us that we are not supposed to do this work alone. He had the wisdom to surround himself with those who could take on some of the work. They were not always passive followers though! They argued, questioned, pushed back, rested, prayed, ran away, came back, and started over. This is the nature of discipleship. And while we are called to be in it together, remember: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” (Talmud)

Remember, Vista Grande has a Just Peace Church ministry team. This is a way to get involved in justice work with a community of disciples! If you are interested get in touch with Kayan Cross for details!

Peace, Clare

Jan 13 – 20

Dear Beloved Community,

I will be the first to admit that it is often difficult to trust that we are truly Beloved by our Creator and as such we find it difficult to love our whole selves. And then even if we do accept and love our entire being, we often do not take care of ourselves as is necessary to flourish.

I was serious when I suggested that New Year’s resolutions can often come from a place of judgement thereby setting us up for a sense of failure when we cannot reach those goals. However, there are certainly some things we can do which are more in keeping with self-care, not predicated on some cultural expectations.

Here are a few ideas to help give yourselves some long overdue and perhaps, avoided self-care.

  • Intentionally set aside some prayer/meditation time each day to help with centering yourself.
  • Exercise by doing an activity that lifts your spirit but does not demand weight loss or muscle gain! (You can do the other too, as long as you can eliminate the judgment)
  • Connect with nature. Allow yourself a few minutes each day to contemplate, walk, hike, sit, take in your surroundings. Breath, look, listen, and breath again.
  • Take a bath, candles, scents, music, etc.
  • Read a book you’ve been putting off.
  • Allow yourself to be creative, in whatever medium, without judgment.
  • Speak your truth. Don’t be afraid to trust your heart and mind.
  • Practice forgiveness. Allow yourself to no longer be bound to suffering imposed by others.
  • Laugh more! Expose yourself to things that bring you joy!
  • Honor the sacred. Find God in the everyday places.

And there are so many more ways to let yourself be present and loving to you. Start here. Enjoy the journey. Replenish and renew. And know you are so Loved!

Peace, Clare

Jan 6 – 13

Happy New Year! Here are John Dorhauer’s Top 10 list of hopeful resolutions for the world in 2020.
John Dorhauer is the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

Happy New Year!

I am not really one who takes new year’s resolutions all that seriously. What I have taken to, instead of promises to myself to change behaviors that I will return to within weeks, is using the turn of the new year to remind myself what I want to spend my life’s energy on.

So, here is my top ten list of commitments to change the world for the common good.

  1. Love More: This isn’t #10 because it’s the least important. I wanted this to be first because it grounds all other options. More love. More stories of love. More actions that emanate from love. Just more love.
  2. More family: I have a family that doesn’t see me as much as they should. Time with them restores my soul. My job gets in the way. This year, more family. More mom; more grandchildren. More Mimi. More family.
  3. Vote: The UCC will again run the Our Faith Our Vote campaign, reminding people of faith that when we vote we do so to support the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed, the earth, peace, justice – and so many other important matters.
  4. The Earth: Our mother is sick. We are the cause. Only we can heal her, and by doing so we will heal ourselves. Without this commitment to change, we will continue to witness disaster after disaster, destruction after destruction.
  5. White Privilege: We start with teaching white people how their privilege manifests itself. Won’t be easy – because most of us are in complete denial about it. After that, we learn new behaviors that emerge from nothing but that love for all I talked about earlier.
  6. Reparations: We must repair the damage. This won’t be easy. The damage has been inflicted for 400 years on this soil. It will take more than the transfer of and access to wealth and power – but it has to include that. And the Church has a role here. We can’t ask the nation and those who inhabit it to do something we have not done ourselves.
  7. Welcome the stranger: Yes, this is about immigrant and refugee justice. But also remember the stranger you meet on the street each day. Practice a spirit of welcome to all whom you meet. Let that spirit infuse you. When we all do that there will be no need for a wall.
  8. Smile: Tikh Nhat Han once wrote: “Sometimes, my joy is the source of my smile. At other times, my smile is the source of my joy.” Choose joy. Cultivate it. Smile more often. Let that be the greeting you offer those around you. It makes a difference.
  9. Peace: War must end. We aren’t throwing rocks and hurling insults at each other anymore. Drones, chemical weapons, and nuclear arsenals now give us the capacity to end life as we know it without discrimination. All die in this new wave of hatred of the other. Time to unlearn the ways of war.
  10. Quiet: We all need more time in silence. No noise. No distractions. No wandering thoughts about impending anxiety. Soul time. Silent time. A quieting of mind, body, and spirit that refreshes us. More of this.

May this year bring you new joy, and advance the causes of peace and justice as we travel together Into the Mystic.

Dec 30,2019 – Jan 6


Shared from The United Church of Christ daily devotions.

Written by Talitha Arnold

King David rose to his feet and said, “I had planned to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord … and I made preparations for building.” – 1 Chronicles 28:2 (NRSV)

King David had great plans, but God had other plans. The one thing he wanted most—building the Temple—he had to leave for his son Solomon.

David’s story is a good one for this year’s final days. What plans did you have for 2019? What do you need to let go of?

As the year draws to a close, a prayer by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, written shortly before his assassination in 1980, offers this insight:

“It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.”

“We plant the seeds that one day will grow,” Romero continued. “We lay foundations that will need further development. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning … an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”

“We may never see the end results,” Romero concluded, “but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.”