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Noah the Movie


There has been quite a bit of discussion about the recent release of Noah, the movie written and directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Russell Crowe. People are asking questions about how closely Noah follows the story of Noah in the Bible. Does it really apply to our world today? Isn’t this just another movie star vehicle?

SF Chronicle film critic Mick M. LaSalle writes: An intelligent take on the story of Noah and the ark, Darren Aronofsky’s film is no silly action movie with a biblical pretext, but a film with lots of application to what goes on in today’s world. It posits a vision of humankind gone astray, in which those on the side of the creator — Noah, his family and all that creeps, crawls, or slithers — are pitted against those who oppose the divine will. In Aronofsky’s framing, the divine will is vegetarian, environmentalist, and anti-industry. The film makes a persuasive case for its point of view. Russell Crowe is superb in the title role.

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Remembering Boston …

bostonmarathon(creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by streamingmeemee (Tim Carter), 2013)

Please take a moment to remember in your prayers all those who have been effected by last year’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon. May they know that “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7, NRSV), and may they be nourished by the love we hold in our hearts for lives filled with the grace of God, by whatever names they may know her. As runners take to the starting line this year, let us renew our commitment to the principles for which Jesus lived and died and lives again, principles of peace and love and compassion.

If you happen to be in the Boston area Easter Sunday, visit Old South Church in Boston, a United Church of Christ congregation and one of the most historically significant churches in the United States. During Easter services, all 2014 Marathoners are invited to receive blessings “that they be kept safe from harm or injury, that they might serve as an example of peaceful international competition, and that God grant them the stamina to finish the race.” Visit the Old South Church in Boston website for more details.

Memorial Service for Elaine Steinmetz

There will be a Memorial Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Elaine Steinmetz, Sunday, May 18, 2014, 2:00 p.m. at St. John’s. Following the memorial service will be the first Allen Steinmetz Memorial Concert, with a reception following. As you may know, Elaine and Allen Steinmetz were both avid musicians and keenly interested in the music program at St. John’s. The Allen & Elaine Steinmetz Music Fund has been established in their memory to enable performance concerts at St. John’s.

If you would like to make a donation in Elaine’s memory, please make your check out to “St John’s UCC” and write “The Allen & Elaine Steinmetz Music Fund” on the memo line of your check.

Studying A New New Testament

anewnewtestamentSt. John’s Bible Study Group will meet Thursday, April 24, 2014 (6:00pm to 7:30pm, at St. John’s) to continue our study of A New New Testament (Hal Taussig, ed., A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: New York, 2013). The New Testament as we know it is a collection  of documents reflecting the thoughts and theologies of one of many Jesus-following communities that were established in the centuries following Christ’s death. In fact, there was tremendous diversity among those who considered themselves Jesus’ disciples as to who he was and the import of his message and teachings.

Much of the writing of these disciples has been lost, however. Manuscripts were actively suppressed or destroyed by early Church Fathers bent on eliminating any expressions of Christianity that did not agree with their own.  Relatively recent discoveries have recovered some of this material that was protected by different communities. Until then, our only knowledge of them came from material quoted in the work of these polemicists who were more concerned with drawing lines between what would be considered “orthodox” Christianity and what would be considered heretical perversions of the faith.   Read More →

Holy Week at St John’s


Sunday, April 23, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

In the Greco-Roman world of the first century, the Palm branch symbolized triumph and victory. Early Christians remembered Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem about a week before his crucifixion. Likewise, today, we remember the Spirit of Jesus’ in our lives and our community.

Scripture reading:  Psalm 118:1-2 and Matthew 21:1-11

“Hosanna!,” Rev. Dr. Sandy Hulse

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 6:30 pm

‘Maundy’ is the English form of the Latin word for “commandment.” Jesus’ new commandment, “love one another as I have loved you,” is the focus of our Maundy Thursday service of supper and shadows. We will share a simple meal, scripture readings, and Holy Communion, in remembrance of the last supper.

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10:00 am

We celebrate and give thanks for the resurrection with scripture, prayers, and songs of joy. A brass quartet will join St John’s Choir. All are welcome to a brunch buffet after worship.