God’s work. Our hands. Sunday is September 13, 2020. This day is an opportunity to celebrate who we are as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.
Service activities offer an opportunity for us to explore one of our most basic convictions as Lutherans: that all of life in Jesus Christ – every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life – flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
You may have wondered if CGS is doing something for GWOH this year during the time of COVID-19. The answer is YES! Although we won't be able to gather together in the Great Hall to pack food, we will still be able to get food to those in need during this time. And this year we will celebrate GWOH for the entire month of September.
We are doing a Virtual Food Drive with Second Harvest Food bank. Traditional food drives have been put on hold for the time being, but the need for food is greater than ever. Last year traditional and virtual food drives created nearly 30 million meals. Second Harvest is currently providing free food for 500,000 people a month, which is more than DOUBLE what they were doing prior to the pandemic.
Did you know:
You can find the portal for our virtual food drive here: http://fundraise.shfb.org/goto/cgslc
Thank you for living out the mission of CGS - to Proclaim God's Word and Love, and to Serve One Another and the World - through this food drive that will help feed our community in this incredible time of need.
Daniel Thomas, CGS Musician
As we near the end of the summer and move ahead to fall, I want to take a moment and thank everyone that has contributed to our online worship services to make them a success. So many of our CGS family have participated, either live or pre-recorded, to ensure that we remain a community, even when we have been physically separated.
Of course, I’m especially grateful to our musicians and singers, all of whom have gone above and beyond in sharing their talents, and many of whom are learning new skills working with audio and video! Members of our band, our mixed choir, and Keynote have all produced some beautiful music, even while sheltering in place. Making music is one of the greatest communal activities we have as humans, and I know many of us miss it deeply. While these virtual performances can never take the place of live music, I hope everyone can take some comfort and joy in creating art for all of us to enjoy.
I am also looking forward to exploring and expanding our technological know-how in the fall – working with some new equipment to further enhance the online worship experience, and laying the groundwork for when we finally return to in-person worship.
I’m reaching out to all of you to ask for your participation and input during the fall:
• As you may have noticed, our liturgical pieces this summer (the Canticle and the Offertory) were pre-recorded by many of our singers. We will be continuing that in the fall with a different Offertory, and I would love for more of you to participate in this. It is fairly easy to do, and we can use the technology to help you give your best performance. Please let me know if you are interested in sharing your time and talent with us.
• I am looking for special music for the fall to be used during communion, as a prelude, or in other parts of worship. If you have a song that means a lot to you and you would like to hear during this fall season, please let me know, and we’ll see if we can create an arrangement with our amazing musicians and singers.
I am humbled and grateful to share worship with each one of you – and while I am eagerly anticipating the day when we can safely worship in person, I am thankful for the ability and willingness of everyone to do so online. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says “for where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Jesus may not have imagined gathering in such a way as we are, but I truly believe that Jesus is among us every Sunday.
By Pastor Manda
At the end of July it was time for the council to reconsider how we worship at CGS. With no surprise, we voted to continue worshipping online only through the end of September. With infection rates and deaths still rising at the end of July, it was obvious that gathering groups to worship in the sanctuary would only increase the risk of exposure to the people of our community and anyone they come in contact with. I know that this is not a surprise to you, but really a fear realized, a disheartening confirmation.
In this time without in-person, communal worship I have been looking to the mystics our spiritual ancestors who had personal revelations from Christ. I’ve been looking to their lives for how to make it through this season of forced fasting from the kind of community I have come to love and rely on for my own mental health.
One of my favorite mystics is Julian of Norwich, England. She lived most of her life in seclusion in the middle of the city. During that time the city experienced pandemics, peasant revolts, and economic swings. She herself was so ill at one point that she was convinced she was dying. In this time, she had many revelations. When she recovered from her illness, she wrote about her revelations and that text was the first English book written by a woman.
Her revelations are fascinating for what we are experiencing. They are the kinds of epiphanies which I believe are only had once we are forced to abandon all our distractions and justifications and come face to face with God as our truest selves. In her last revelation, she reflects back that we humans have two sicknesses: impatience, and fear.
Yeah. Here in the middle of our own pandemic I see impatience and fear. Julian posited that there were four kinds of fear: fright, fear of pain, doubt, and reverence. Each kind of fear stems from its own place – our frailty, our own shortcomings or failure, our perceptions of the outside world beyond our control, our despair.
But the hopeful thing that Julian finds in her revelations is that this impatience and all this fear also can drive us toward God. Our inability to control the world around us or even our own actions, eventually trips us up and makes us fall on our knees at the foot of the cross. There is Christ. He’s always been there, where our fears and impatience bring us.
I’m grateful to be taking this month of Sabbath. A long road trip into the backcountry of these western united states will bring me a different kind of isolation than I’ve experienced these past 5 months. I hope to use this time to shed my own impatience and fears so that I might find the foot of the cross, and Christ. I know he’s still there. And maybe if I can refocus on Christ, I can find some peace as we continue to wait for that day when we can all be together again.
By Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
August is Pride month in Silicon Valley. But going five months into the pandemic, we all know that the celebration is not going to be the same as before. No parade, no booths, no concerts. Not even in CGS, where we used to hang rainbow flags and banners, which I’ve always enjoyed seeing during worship, to enhance the spirit of the event’s observance. For a reconciling church like ours where a number of our members are part of the LGBTQ+ community, not being able to celebrate Pride month is a sobering prospect. For me, around this time is when I usually see and reconnect with people I don’t normally see the rest of the year - former SVGMC members with whom I sang, and friends I used to regularly meet in past social gatherings. However, pandemic doesn’t mean no celebration at all. In these times of new normal, we’ve learned to cope and adjust going through our daily lives, and celebrating Pride month shouldn’t be an exception. As downsized as it may be, we can still celebrate in our own different and easy ways. It can be as simple as wearing a Pride shirt, listening to music that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community, such as Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” or hanging a mini rainbow flag in your room or a big one in front of your house. As simple or as different it may be, the important thing is that we don’t forget the reason why we observe Pride. The same way that we continue to gather in worship every Sunday, have communion, and remember our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation, may we also continue to celebrate Pride and remember what it signifies: to commemorate and celebrate LGBTQ+ activism and culture through the years, that started with the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969.
Jean Herriges, Council President
You may have heard that Pastor Manda is away for the month of August. She is taking a much needed vacation and will be back to lead us in online worship in September. While Pastor Manda is away, please know that there are still people who can help you if a need arises. You may call, text, or email me at any time. My number is (408) 410-1525 and you can also email me here. You can always contact the full CGS Council by emailing us here.
If you are not sure who to call, but have an immediate need, Laura Rinde, the CGS Office Manager, may be able to help you. She is infinitely resourceful! Laura is available Monday - Thursday, 9am-3pm. She can be reached by email here, or by phone at (408) 266-8022.
Please don't hesitate to keep any or all of us informed of developments in your life. We can walk alongside you, keep you in our prayers, and try to help with questions you may have.
God's peace be with you
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.