Preschool Parents’ Night

Hi Gang,

I could not leave for Spain on Saturday without offering just a few thoughts on our Thursday night, preschool parents’ workshop. In a word, it was just wonderful. The atmosphere was positive and friendly. The lecture on child discipline was most relevant and substantive. Parents were appreciative and enthusiastic. Many even came up and spoke to me personally.

Our church folk came with their food items, smiling faces, and positive attitudes ready to care for children while parents attended the workshop. I am so grateful to all of our folk that so selflessly pitched in.

In short, I leave for Spain and Malta one happy camper. We are a church with a defined mission and purpose: to make a difference in the lives of  our city’s children.

Thank you, and well done!


Off to Barcelona Spain and Malta!

My bags about packed and I’m ready to go. I am looking forward to a new adventure traveling to a place I have never been with an old dear friend who knows more about art than anyone I know. I am sure I will return with a lot of stories about my adventures, not to mention a few photographs I will be able to utilize for future Meditation Moments.

How great it will be for me to visit the museums dedicated to Juan Miro, Salvatore Dali, and Pablo Picasso!  I look forward to spending a day in the Gaudi Cathedral, which I understand is truly a magnificent structure still under construction.  There will be a trip to the Opera house as well as a theater to see Flamenco dancers.

I have read much about the artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. In Malta I will see his famous painting of the beheading of John the B aptist. The painting contains the only know signature of the master, signed in the blood emanating from severed head.

And yet seems that now matter where I go, I will enjoy the people the most. I know I will meet people with whom I share the same joys and concerns, the similar hopes and dreams. I know it will be a pleasure to meet new people, and hear their stories and learn from them.

When we lived in New York City and I had time to myself, I would often go to Central Park and would (as Cameron would love to accuse me of) tip street musicians and talk to strangers. Some how I believe all people are connected in some beautiful way. I do believe our world would be a better place if somehow we would all take time to appreciate different people with their distinctive art and music, and what personal life stories they have to offer. I know this is pretty basic stuff, but also very true,

See you when Advent begins. Until then you will my good friend and pastor, The Rev. Al Williams, serve me.


Being Thankful

I can’t believe we are in Thanksgiving season already! Monday morning at the nursing home in Palo Alto we sang the “big three” for the season: Come Ye Thankful, People Come, We Gather Together, and Now Thank We All Our God. We didn’t have song sheets, but we seemed to do pretty well with the words. We ended our service as always by offering the residents communion, our meal of remembrance and thanksgiving.

I think we all have memories of Thanksgivings past: who was there, who made the best pie, what signature dish defined the moment other than the turkey. In our house growing up it was always grandma Jarvis’ (my great grandmother) string beans that were cut a special way, boiled in milk, which tasted just awesome when mixed with mashed potatoes.

I remember years ago while I was in seminary, my former wife and I spent Thanksgiving with two other seminary couples. They were also our dearest friends all through those intense school years. I will never in my life forget the table grace offered by our host who is still active in the ministry, and who is still a very dear friend. His prayer was just two sentences and went exactly like this. ” O Lord, we thank you for everything we got. Please forgive us for bitchin’ ’bout everything we ain’t got. Amen.” A shocking grace, for sure; but its message was clear, concise and pertinent to this day. By the way, out of all the table graces I have heard or given over the years, it is the only one I really remember verbatim.

Most of all, I love too the phrase I learned several years ago, “It’s not about happy people being thankful, but thankful people who are happy”. Being thankful, being grateful is really what it’s all about. It is the heart of all prayer. It is what motivates our response to be servants in the service of others.