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Pastoral Letter, January 3, 2024

January 3, 2024

Ye Saints and Friends of the San Carlos Churches:


I'm very much enjoying the sunshine this morning after last night's rain, after Advent, during these last days of Christmas.


First of all, a note from Ann:


Dear Friends at our Three-in-One Churches,


            I hope you are coming to our Epiphany Party at our house next Saturday, January 6, starting at noon.  It will be a potluck.  We will provide sliced turkey, and everyone else please bring whatever you would like—salads, fruit, dessert, etc.  Whatever appears is what we will eat.  RSVP is not required but appreciated so that we can be prepared with serving utensils, etc.  

            If you can, please let me know if you are coming by Thursday, January 4, either by email to or by phone to my cell phone, 650 465-5391.  We will talk about why we celebrate Epiphany.



This is a fun annual event, which we missed last year because of excessive rain.  


Please let Ann and Siv know if you plan to come.  As there is limited parking at the house, please just come to the church and we will car pool from there.


Last Sunday we celebrated the impending takeoff into the new year:


"Good morning and welcome to San Carlos Community Churches Flight 2024, with service from time to eternity.  We are prepared for takeoff into the New Year.  Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secure and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time; negativity, hurt and discouragement be put away. Should we lose altitude under pressure, during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated, whereupon you may assist other passengers. 


There will be NO BAGGAGE, allowed on this flight. 

Ultimate Flight Control has cleared us for takeoff. 

Destination: Faith, Hope and Charity.


Baggage or no, we are on a journey together.  The church year is a journey from birth to death, to rebirth, to the fullness of life.  


As our psalm this morning says:


Light dawns for the righteous,

and joy for the upright in heart.

As Jeremiah foretold:


"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.


The light, the joy, those days finally came, but not in the way anyone expected.  


The wise men, the magicians, the kings - whoever they were - arrived after centuries of prophecies about the messiah, the righteous ruler, the redeemer, the one who would execute justice, the one who would rule with righteousness.  If this person has come in the person of Jesus - as we believe - he turned out to be much, much less and much, much more than expected.  He never ruled in the sense that Caesar or Herod or even the weakest of American presidents ruled.   He issued no enforceable laws; commanded no military units; collected no monies; ordered no executions.


My teacher Huston Smith said that of only two people in all of history did people ask not “Who Is this person?” but “What is this person?”


Those two persons were Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha – more on him some other time- and Jesus of Nazareth, commonly known as Jesus Christ; for us Christians, the Messiah, the Lord.


Not who are you? but what are you? is the question.  So people have been asking ever since his first appearance and so will still ask:  What was this person Jesus?  


He was a shoot from the stump of Jesse, a righteous branch, a wonderful counselor, prince of peace; his yoke is easy, his burden is light


He announced that there was, or would be, a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side-by-side with the greatest.  At the very beginning of his life, before he ever said or did anything, these kings or wise men came to pay homage to him.  The rest is history."


In addition please come to the Annual Meeting after church on Sunday, January 21.  


Next Sunday's lessons will be:


Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine; for your light has come,

and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,

and thick darkness the peoples;

but the LORD will arise upon you,

and his glory will be seen upon you.

And nations shall come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your rising.


Matthew 2:7-11

         Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." 

         When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 

May God bless you mightily this winter/spring.

- Pastor Richard Hyde

Community Church of San Carlos

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