Worship with us Sundays at 11 - Venga a adorar con nosotros los domingos a las 11

Category: Pastor Kaji’s Blog

“Easter” by The Rev Kaji Douša

On Easter, we’re reminded of a God who’s been everywhere, will go anywhere, and will lift us up. I listen to the story of the Resurrection, when people went in great despair, expecting the very worst. And what God did was to show up for them. To show up – that is Resurrection. Resurrection means God has shown up. Got has come even from the depths of death into life. And God has shown up to show us that God will always bring life out of death. And so we celebrate this Easter with thanks for God, thanks to God, that no matter what, God will always show up. Thanks be to God. Amen.

“Good Friday” by The Rev Kaji Douša

On Good Friday, we are reminded that there are no lengths that God isn’t willing to go for us. We look at a cross that Jesus had to carry. And as we carry our own crosses, we know that, whatever we’ve gone through, whatever we experience, God has seen it too, personally. And so, I hope that as you look at the story of the Passion, of God’s passion for you and for every single created human, you will see that wherever God has gone, you might have to go, but you’ll also go with God. Wherever you will go, God has been and made it through. And wherever God is going to ask you to go, God will carry you through. God has carried the cross. God will carry you. And so, as we sit in the darkness of the shadows that came upon the land after they killed Jesus, we remember that, whatever they tried to kill, God can bring to life, and will bring to life, especially that which God has made. So, know that you, made by God, are held and cherished even through the darkest shadows. And look to Easter, look three days ahead, when the new day will come. Amen.

“Holy Week” by The Rev Kaji Douša

We begin Holy Week with a cry of a word that perhaps we need to remind ourselves of: Hosanna. Hosanna, which means, “Lord save us.” We begin Holy Week calling out for salvation. Calling out for the help of a God who promises to offer that. But as we walk into Holy Week, we’re also aware that every time we call out “Lord save us,” we come with an agenda. We think we know precisely, or at least we have a strong idea of, what that should mean. My invitation to us in this time, as we call out our hosannas to the God who promises, and has already delivered salvation, is that we leave ourselves open to what that truly means for us. What God intends for us, not what we intend for God. And when we place that orientation right, and when we are ready to let God be God, and that God is great and that God‘s imagination is broader than ours, and this salvation God offers us will be precisely what we need, far beyond what we could have ever prescribed. Thanks be to God. Amen.

“Make Lent a ‘Whole 40’ Season & Enrich Your Life,” by The Rev. Kaji Douša​

“The Highest Form of Accompaniment is Love” from The Rev. Kaji Douša​

This is the power of love, this is the heart of the Christian message: accompany each other, do not be afraid. And that power of love is going to stop Ravi from being deported, and all these immigrants facing that danger. Join us in this struggle. Text “IStandWithRavi” to 41411 for more information – all one word: “IStandWithRavi” – Thank you.

Pivot, Power and Praise

Here at The Park, we have determined that we want to have some focus in how we dig deeper for 2018. And so, throughout this year we’re going to be focusing on three thematic areas: the first is “Pivot,” the second is “Power,” and the third is “Praise.” Pivot, Power, Praise. The first takes the season of Lent and Pivots us towards God. Because that’s what repentance is, it’s a pivot away from the things that would take away our focus on God, putting God first. The second season will be reflecting on the Power that the Holy Spirit gives us, both in community and in our communal nature, and especially in our own individual power. How does the Holy Spirit empower us for what God needs in this world right now, and God intends for our lives? And the third part is Praise. With all this Pivot towards God and living in our Power, how do we live a life of Praise? And so, we invite you to join The Park as we take this journey through 2018: from January all the way through December. You will find yourself living in your Pivot towards God, your Power in the Holy Spirit and your Praise for all that God is doing and has done and will do in your life. Amen. Amen.

How can we orient our lives so that we are putting God before everything else?

Once upon a time someone challenged me to take a close look at my calendar and at my budget so that I could understand what my priorities are. And as I looked to see where I spent all my time, and how I spent all my money, I realize that I was putting all of my energy towards things that didn’t really matter that much to me. And what I wasn’t putting first was God. And so I had to completely shift my life. Of course, most of my time went to work. And work was obviously important, and I didn’t have a lot of choices around that, but what I did have a choice on was that I could start my day and put God first in the day. And setting my life up around that form of devotion helps for the rest of the day to go right. And so my challenge for myself and perhaps to you is to think how can we orient our lives so that we are putting God before everything else. We do have choices. We have chances to orient our lives towards holiness. And putting God first means putting God first in all our choices. Making sure our budget reflects our commitment to God. And our time reflects our commitment to serving God. That is how holiness infuses your whole life. And once you start that, you realize you were born for this. Amen.

Pastor Kaji’s full sermon is available here: https://www.parkavenuechristian.com/your-holiness-by-the-rev-kaji-dousa-jan-29-2018/

 

 

#IStandWithRavi Ragbir

On Thursday, January 11, my dear friend, immigrant advocate, and executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition Of New York City, Ravi Ragbir, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as he went for his routine check-in – been checking in with Ravi for nine years – he has pending legal cases and he should not be deported. I say that from a legal perspective, but I especially say it from a moral perspective, as a woman of faith, remembering that Jesus himself was an immigrant and a refugee. And what Ravi has done is that he has helped immigrants and refugees not just here in New York City but across the country, to come out of the shadows and to stand strong and brave so that they can receive the legal help they need to stay in the country, and so that they don’t have to be afraid. They’ve been targeting our immigration leaders, by rounding them up – particularly the ones who are also immigrants – and putting them in detention. And I think they think that will break us. And they can weaken us by taking away our leaders, but what they don’t know is that we have a whole slew of people ready to stand in. And they can keep arresting us and they can keep taking us away, and trying to take us down, but we have God on our side, which means that we have the people to step up. I invite you to search your heart and find ways to support immigrants. I invite you to join the movement.  I invite you to pray for the leaders of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that they will melt the ICE. And they will stand on the side of righteousness and of Jesus. Because to oppose an immigrant is to oppose Jesus. We are all created in the image of God, no matter what country we come from, no matter what our circumstances are. And when we treat people as if they are not made in the image of God, then we are opposing God. And when we deport one we are deporting Jesus.  So pray for the leaders of ICE. They have choices they can make. They have tremendous discretion and they can do the right thing. Amen.

Pastor Kaji’s full sermon is here: https://youtu.be/kZCDkD8TyYU

A Christmas Message from Pastor Kaji

News coming out this week makes us really need to think about Jerusalem

From The Rev. Kaji Douša:

News coming out this week makes us really need to think about Jerusalem.

I want to talk a little bit about something that a lot of people don’t understand about a certain strain of Christianity. And what they believe in is what we call “premillennial dispensationalism.” Premillennial dispensationalism is all about trying to figure out how we can prepare for Jesus’ coming. And people who adhere to this thought are concerned based on two passages out of scripture, one from First Thessalonians 4, and the other one from Revelation 20. And the Thessalonians passage talks about the rapture, and the Revelation 20 passage talks about the millennium. And what these folks would like is to make sure that they get to be raptured before the millennium comes – because they believe there will be a period of tribulation that nobody wants to have to live through.

This matters, politically, because this week President Trump declared that he intends to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And it’s all connected to this premillennial dispensationalist belief that Jerusalem has to be the capital of Israel in order for Jesus to come back. Here we are in the Advent season planning for Jesus’ return.

And this is scary, because it destabilizes the world unnecessarily. Because God doesn’t need our help getting things ready politically for Jesus. God needs our help socially. God needs our help structurally. God needs our help between human beings caring about every life in the Holy Land, and not just one group of people’s lives.

So we need to pay attention, Christians, and talk to our dispensationalist friends who would like to ignore the needs of, say, the Palestinians, or even of the Israelis, by making things very dangerous for them over there. And God forbid there be any further violence. In this Advent season, let’s pray. Amen.