by the Reverend Karen Maurer, Associate Vicar

Psalm 85:8-13
8
 I will listen to what the Lord God is saying, *
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.
 9 Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, *
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth have met together; *
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring up from the earth, *
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed grant prosperity, *
and our land will yield its increase.
 13 Righteousness shall go before him, *
and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

Sometimes I am in need of a little reassurance from God. Perhaps I have made a poor choice and I need to hear that all is not lost. Or maybe I find myself in the midst of what seems to be a hopeless situation with no way out. If I must make a big decision that will determine the future course of my life, a little reassurance (and direction) from God would be most welcome! Have you been there? Are you experiencing a similar moment right now?

Our Psalm for this week functions as a big, “I’ve got you!” from God. Psalm 85 is a lament that gives thanks for the people of Israel’s restoration. It begins by recounting their afflictions as an exiled people and their need for God’s continued help. They had been away from all that was comfortable and familiar for a long time. They wondered if Yahweh still cared and if their lot in life was to be forever outside of God’s presence. They needed some reassurance and boy, in the section of the Psalm that is our reading for this Sunday, they get it in spades! As you can see from the excerpt above, the people get some much-needed encouragement.

I love the image of mercy and truth meeting together with righteousness and peace sharing a holy kiss. Oh, how I long to bask in such beauty, where wisdom springs up and truth enfolds me. Where the Eternal Giver grants what is good. To reside in a place where mercy and compassion are lived out in my life and the lives of others, where love’s way guides our footsteps in paths of peace.

This is not a fanciful dream, nor an unattainable Shangri-la. This imagery reflects God’s intention for the world. From the beginning of time, God’s design has been that we become people and communities where steadfast love and faithfulness meet. Where all people find welcome, love, joy, laughter, peace and inclusion. Where the broken-hearted are comforted and the strong give aid to the weak.

I think that when Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God is here, the imagery of Psalm 85 is exactly what he had in mind! To reside in a state of such beauty, safety and peace, with the constant reassurance that every single one of us is cherished beyond our wildest imaginations — well, that is just downright fantastic!

Oh, that today each of us might reside in that reassurance of God’s care for us and, with God’s help, take that message of care, love, and peace, and welcome to someone who needs it right this minute.

With love,
Karen+

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Here’s Sunday’s July 11th bulletin. Please either print the bulletin at home and bring it to church with you Sunday morning, or bring your smart device to the service so you can pull up the bulletin. Thanks for helping us reduce use of paper and toner!

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Here’s an at-a-glance look at what’s happening at St. John’s; for all the details, go here.
+ Saturday evening In-person worship is at 5 p.m. today. Join us!
+The new “Forward Day by Day” now available in the Narthex. A $1 donation to help offset costs is suggested.
+ You can drop food donations for RSM Cares Food Pantry at church Monday through Friday during office hours. Next distribution is July 21.
+ Godly Play, Sunday School, and the Nursery are open to receive your children!
+ Join us for coffee after the Sunday service on the lower courtyard (Learning Commons Courtyard) which is the perfect spot to hold coffee hour where tables, comfortable seating, and shade abound. We even have an elevator you can use to get there!
+ Join the Altar Guild! Learn more, by contacting Christy Morinello.
+ Youth Group meets next on ZOOM July 21 at 7 p.m. Contact Patti Peebles for more info.
+  Caregiving Mosaics meets Wednesday, July 14 via ZOOM. Details in the News link.
+ Youth and Adult confirmations with Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce set for Sunday, September 12. Details in the News link.
+ Women’s Hybrid Bible Study on Wednesday mornings, 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. at DJ Gomer’s home. Hybrid = in-person and on ZOOM.
+ Women’s luncheon, “Sisters Who Converse”, is Saturday, July 24, 11:30 a.m. at Tutto Fresco, RSM. Details in the News link.
+  Harry Elliott’s memorial service is Wednesday, July 28, 2 p.m.
+ More news/events/volunteer opportunities available by clicking below on the pic of the waving VBS camper.

We’re back on campus:
Clergy and staff are back in the Church Office. Schedule a time to come to the church office and meet face-to-face. Contact Rev. Christopher at 949.888.4568, or Rev. Karen at 949.888.4595, x239.

In-Person Worship Schedule:
• Evening Prayer or Compline ZOOM services continue to be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Get the links by signing up for the Saturday eblast. 
• Sunday morning worship will be held in-person at church and on ZOOM at 9 a.m.
• Saturday worship inside the church at 5 p.m.

We’ll see you at St. John’s!