December 1, 2015

Our Advent theme this year is “A Fragile Promise.” On each Sunday of the season we will turn to the words of one of the Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures for a word of encouragement and instruction.

This past Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, we turned to Jeremiah who told the people of Jerusalem that though their city had been invaded, their temple destroyed and their lives shattered, God had not forgotten them and that justice and safety would be re-established in their land.

This coming Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, we will turn to Malachi 3:1-4. Speaking to the people of Jerusalem some time around 500 B.C., a time after many citizens of Jerusalem had returned from exile and the Temple rebuilt, Malachi promised the people that a messenger of the Lord was coming and that this messenger would refine them as fire refines fine metal,  as fuller’s soap cleanses beautiful textiles. This process of being refined and cleansed might not be pleasant, but it would leave the people better able to serve the LORD.

In our consideration of the fragile promise of the prophet I will, as I have several times in recent weeks, quote Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary. “In every biblical illustration of conversion, there is a mission attached. No one is converted  for exclusively personal benefits…The purpose of conversion in the Bible is not our spiritual self-actualization but Christ’s mission.”

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Charlene and Jerry Wolf as they mourn the death of Charlene’s mom, Emma (The funeral will be Saturday, December 5 in North Dakota)
  • Carol Leichter and family as they mourn Steve’s death (November 30 at Alta Bates)
  • Nedra Hathaway (Surgery on December 1)
  • George and Sandra Lee for George’s brother, Herbert
  • Mary Karne for her cousin, Jim, hospitalized in Minnesota
  • Declan and Sheila Brown, Sondra Price, Kay Washington and Joshua Bonette for Josh’s dad (Surgery on December 3)
  • Doris and Ted Evans
  • Sandra Dunn for her family and for herself
  • Kay Baxter – Encouragement for Stacey, continued recovery for Jamie,  continued strength for Kay
  • Cordia Lee – Strength for John and Paige, healing for Christopher, unity for Alta Bates -Summit, thanksgiving in all things
  • Gloria and Phil Meads – School success for Alfonso
  • Marie Johnson for her co-workers and their families and for Donnie and Nicole as they prepare for the birth of Donald Lee Johnson III
  • Joan Patten for Peter and Paula
  • Joan Thatcher (health concerns)
  • All the refugees and displaced persons of the world
  • The victims of the shooting at Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs (In the 334 days of 2015 there have been 351 shootings in the USA in which 4 or more people have been killed or injured)
  • Paul Keener as he leads FBC Alameda as their Interim Pastor
  • Thanksgiving for the leadership of Don Ng as he concludes his term as President of the American Baptist Churches, USA
  • Thanksgiving for the willingness of Pope Francis to seek peace and reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic
  • Thanksgiving with Carol and Wil Ash on the news from Jonny that he passed the California Bar Exam
  • Thanksgiving for the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Paris
  • Thanksgiving for community building ministry of Harbor House (located in the San Antonio Neighborhood)

Thanks to all who served in our Thanksgiving ministries and to all, particularly Paige Bence, Gail Carter, Karen Hopkins and Pat Hughes, who helped decorate for Advent and Christmas.