I look forward to our worship this coming Sunday as we gather to hear God’s word, sing God’s song, pray as God’s people, welcome new members and gather at the Table of Communion. The central text in our worship will be Psalm 67. At the heart of this Psalm is the exclamation “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon the earth.” Clearly the God of Israel is more than a national deity for the God of this psalm is concerned with the well being of the House of Israel as well a those who are not members that house.
The sermon I am planning is titled “For Us, For Them.” As part of my sermon I intend to quote Christine Roy Yoder. Her words, “As we proclaim that ‘God so loved the world’ (John 3:16a), that God sent Jesus Christ not to condemn the world, but ‘in order that the world might be saved’ (John 3:17), Psalm 67 insists we never forget the wideness of God’s sovereignty and love. The psalmist reminds us that the scope of God’s salvation and blessing is communal and cosmic, particular and global – for ‘us’ and most certainly for ‘them.’ God’s blessing of Israel is inextricable from God’s blessing of the whole earth.”
In prayer, in song, in Scripture, in communion and in community God whispers to us, and to them, the promise of God’s love. A question to ponder is “for you, who is the them to whom God is also speaking?”
Prayers of the Congregation
- Prayers for those whose bodies need strength and healing – Bette Pancoe (The Rehabilitation Center of Oakland – formerly Rounsville Convalescent Hospital, Sybil Alexander, Charlotte Evans, Ted Evans, Carol and Steve Leichter, Brenda McCarthy for the Maldanado and Dews families, Art Ferguson, Cecil White, Joni Nomura, Sandra Dunn, David Broadnax, Chuck Johnston for his partner Kevin and for his dad and step-mom, George Lee for Sylvia, Edna Dorenzo, Virginia Damretzky, Al Johnson, Jamie Reid, Kay Baxter’s friend Abbott, Rae Rita Thompson’s father, Celestine Bennett’s son Richard, Dave Gattey’s brother Phil and sister in law Linda, Cherie Smith for mom, Jim Jefferey, Jesus Portillo for Spanky and William, Jeanne Robinson, Joe Abrams for his father, Jeanne Robinson for Linda Ngo
- Prayers for those who are aging and their loved ones who care for them – Sandra Dunn for her father, Theresako Harris for her aunt, Larry Hutchings for his mother, Marc Harrison for his father, Sheryl Gattey for her mother, Ruth Smith, Naomi Nutting for her mother, Karen Hopkins for her father
- Prayers for those who are grieving – Helen Roberson on the death of her mother, Cameron Wilson for her family as they mourn the death of her Uncle Larry, Gill Hammond on the death of his father (Alexander), The Neal family on the death of Caroleene,
- Prayers for our loved ones who are facing significant challenges – Gloria and Phil Meads for Cynthia Nelson, Kay Baxter for Stacey, Georgia Upshaw for her friend Ginny, Toni Daniels for her family, Margaret Alexander for LaShaya and family, Joan Patten for her son Peter, Rowena Jackson for her son Paul, Barry Breaux for his family, Mary Lee, Max Powers, Ann Fields for her family, Steve Reimer for his son Greg, Declan Brown for his friend Lewis and family, Cathy Leaks for Rodney Leaks, Cordia Lee for Elysse and Elijah Green IV, John, Paige, Erica and Elijah Green III and herself, Gene Bass, the Sims family, Zolette Hooks for her family
- Prayers for our community- Our students, teachers, school employees and families, members of the police and fire departments and their families, medical care workers and their families, Tyrone Mack for Mrs. Moore
- Prayers for people we don’t know who are facing challenges we can’t imagine- For our Kachin brothers and sister, those who are incarcerated, all who are affected by gun violence, the people of Haiti, the people of the Syria, the people of the Korean Peninsula (both South and North, the grieving of Bangladesh following the collapse of the building that left at least 377 dead, the people of Iraq in the face of rumors of a new civil war, the people of Afghanistan as the US troops withdraw
- Prayers of gratitude – For the Ministry of our Hunger Task Force, with Bonnie Sato, with Katrina Lau, for the courage of Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the NBA, for the scholarship of LeAnn Snow Flesher as she completes her latest book
- Prayers for ourselves – May each of us know that we are counted among God’s beloved
If you are concerned about the state of our local public schools I urge you join me tonight at 5:00 at Castlemont High School, 8601 MacArthur Boulevard, as PICO California and our Education Allies call on the elected officials of the State of California to fund all schools equitably.
Lakeshore Reads meets this Saturday at 9:00 in the Church Library. We will be discussing The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The Sanctuary Art Committee will meet again this Sunday at 8:45 in the Library.
Thanks to our Minister of Music, Mikki Boyd, we look forward to singing in Spanish on Cinco de Mayo Sunday.