"Hannah: the Way of Prayer" with Joy Barnitz

This Sunday: Hannah - the Way of Prayer

with Joy Barnitz

This Sunday Joy Barnitz, M.Div, Ph.D., will lead us in the exploration of the story of Hannah.


Studying the role of women in our sacred texts has been integral to Joy’s engagement with religion. Hannah’s story is the first one in the Bible of a person coming to a shrine to speak to God from the heart. What might we learn about prayer and our relationship to God from Hannah’s story?


In preparation for the discussion, Joy invites the community to take a look at the readings below.  


Please join us, and invite others who may benefit from this conversation. 


About Joy: Joy T. Barnitz, M.Div, Ph.D. is the current President of the Tri-City Interfaith Council which has members from Fremont, Union City and Newark, California.


A lifelong Swedenborgian, Joy has served on the Board of Wayfarers Chapel and on the Council of the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church. Currently, she is an active member of Niles Discovery Church in Fremont, a church aligned with both the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); she claims membership in three Christian denominations.


In addition to her interfaith work, she serves on two boards for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC. She received her Certificate of Swedenborgian Theology in 2014 and her M.Div. in 2015, both from the Pacific School of Religion; she received her Certificate in Women’s Studies in Religion from the Graduate Theological Union in 2018.


Now retired after over 30 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, she has broad experience at the laboratory bench, in the corporate boardroom and at the bedside. She volunteers as a spiritual care provider at Washington Hospital where she serves as an on-call chaplain and leads a bereavement outreach program.

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Readings for The Coming Sunday

1 Samuel 1: 9-18

When the sacrifice had been offered, and they had eaten the meal, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli was sitting in his chair near the door to the place of worship. Hannah was heartbroken and was crying as she prayed, “Lord All-Powerful, I am your servant, but I am so miserable! Please let me have a son. I promise to give him to you for as long as he lives, and his hair will never be cut.”

Hannah prayed silently to the Lord for a long time. But her lips were moving, and Eli thought she was drunk. 14 “How long are you going to stay drunk?” he asked. “Sober up!”


“Sir, please don't think I'm no good!” Hannah answered. “I'm not drunk, and I haven't been drinking. But I do feel miserable and terribly upset. I've been praying all this time, telling the Lord about my problems.” Eli replied, “Go home. Everything will be fine. The God of Israel will answer your prayer.”

“Sir, thank you for being so kind to me,” Hannah said. Then she left, and after eating something, she felt much better.


“Sir,” Hannah said, “a few years ago I stood here beside you and asked the Lord to give me a child. Here he is! The Lord gave me just what I asked for. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will be the Lord's servant for as long as he lives.”

 

Swedenborg Insight

Excerpts from True Christian Religion (Rose) n. 539


There are two duties that we are obliged to perform after we have examined ourselves: prayer and confession. The prayer is to be a request that God have mercy on us, give us the power to resist the evils that we have repented of, and provide us an inclination and desire to do what is good, since "without him we cannot do anything" (John 15:5).


The confession is to be that we see, recognize, and admit to our evils and that we are discovering that we are miserable sinners.


There is no need for us to list our sins before the Lord and no need to beg that he forgive them. The reason we do not need to list our sins before the Lord is that we searched them out within ourselves and saw them, and therefore they are present before the Lord because they are present before us.


The Lord was leading us in our self-examination; he disclosed our sins; he inspired our grief and, along with it, the motivation to stop doing them and to begin a new life.

Recap of Last Week:

Gratitude: A Spiritual Resilience Practice

Last week we enjoyed hearing from Cheryl Robertson, who shared her personal testimony of approaching life's trials through the lens of gratitude. We learned how gratitude can be used as a tool of spiritual resilience when facing significant health challenges, and loss of loved ones. It was also very powerful to see members of Cheryl's own family and friends join the community circle and share how Cheryl's spiritual journey made an impact in their lives.


A number of people have written to us since last Sunday saying, "This message was so AMAZING!"


We encourage everyone to watch Cheryl's message, which can be viewed here.


Thank you, Cheryl, and thank you to your family and friends, for making it such a special evening for us.

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Overheard on the Grapevine:

Celebrating Freedom with Stories of Resilience from the War Zone

Our Church community is helping to build bridges with community leaders from across the world. Today, August 24th, marks the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's independence from Russia, and 181 days since a full-scale invasion of the country.


Honoring these two milestones, members of our community helped organize an event with leaders joining us from Ukraine. Speakers, representing the Youth Movement "Be Free" and the Lviv Regional Clinical Perinatal Center, shared powerful stories of what is happening in the country today, and how they've been able to mobilize resources to help families and children.


"It was truly remarkable to see these young men and women, who could have left Ukraine at this time, choosing to stay back to serve their communities," said one attendee. "Their stories, their resilience, their humanity inspires and uplifts us."

 

The donation link below will take you to a Gifts of Love for Ukraine webpage with more information about the speakers' organizations. Thank you, Tony Raffa, for helping us to set up the Gifts of Love for Ukraine through Companies for Causes, and making this work possible.


Email Kateryna Pyatybratova at katempya@gmail.com for a copy of the event recording, and let us know if you have any updates you may want to share with us.

Donate to Support Ukraine

The Ukrainian Singing Tree Mural of

Strength and Freedom

During today's Ukraine event, one of the participants shared a photograph of a mural, The Ukrainian Singing Tree of Strength and Freedom, co-designed with students at U. of Texas El Paso.


The mural uses the Ukrainian flag for its background; the national tree, which is a Viburnum; the roots are holding the heart of the world; the national bird – the Nightingale - singing and calling out.


We invite you to use the image as a source of inspiration for the week ahead: what does true strengths and freedom mean to you?


Reprints of the mural are available here:

https://www.unitythroughcreativity.org/singing-tree-poster-shop

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