April 17, 2018

Dear LABC,

As I write it is Tuesday morning. I am a little tired because I was at an Oakland Community Organizations action at St. Anthony’s church well into the evening last night.  At the action, which was attended by almost 600 people, residents of Oakland implored our elected leaders to prioritize ending the illegal dumping that makes life almost intolerable in so many neighborhoods. As the co-chair of the OCO Board it was my role to begin the meeting with a prayer and close it with a summary of demands made and actions promised. It is an honor to stand with the people of Oakland in standing for justice.

Last Sunday, in  the  second sermon of my “Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I Have Loved” series, I noted that one of the pleas author Kate Bowler makes to her well-meaning friends as she faces the possibility that she might not live to see her two year old son turn three is “Do not pour your certainty on my suffering.”

This coming Sunday, in the final sermon of the series, the words of Jesus from his Sermon on the Mount will be central, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” My theme will be that when someone we love is suffering a gentle word, a gentle touch or even a gentle silence can be a great mercy.

On this topic Professor Bowler is very clear. The impact of words like “I’ve done some research and…” is usually not at all gentle. Greatly preferable are sentences like “I am so grateful to hear about how you are doing and just know that I’m on your team.” She also writes that one of the best ways to be gentle is to “show up and shut up.”

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Darshan and Geetha Thaker as they welcome baby Emmanuel into their family
  • Margaret Alexander and family as they grieve
  • Marian Ott (health)
  • Bruce Quan (health)
  • Dave Gattey (recuperating from surgery)
  • Sandra Dunn (health)
  • Alice Edmondson (health)
  • Ryan Parker for his dad (health)
  • Myra Saxton for Margaret (health)
  • Tuck Chin (SNF at San Joaquin Gardens)
  • Roxanne Jones for herself and her family
  • Helen Harrison for Jennifer and family
  • Kay, Jamie and Stacey
  • Tyrone Mack for his family
  • Larry Sims for his family
  • Ann Fields for her family
  • LCC teachers Teresita and Joni (health)
  • The homeless residents of our community
  • The immigrant residents of our community
  • The people of Gaza, Palestine, Israel, Syria and the Middle East
  • Pastor Bryan Byamukama, Bethany Baptist Church, Mbala, Uganda
  • Pastor Allison for Tzury, an after church visitor on Sunday
  • Kathleen Donson Soots  for her brothers Michael and Richard
  • The Meads family for Kaylee and Siv
  • Thanksgiving with Leilah Clark, Katrina Lau, Marleigh Leaks and their families as they are baptized this Sunday