Once again, Advent Greetings to All,
On December 17, the Third Sunday of Advent, we will light the candle of joy and we will continue focusing on the lectionary texts from the epistles. This week we will read I Thessalonians 5: 16-24 which contains the oft quoted admonition to “pray without ceasing.”
This instruction brings to mind the current debate about the frequently used expression “They (often the victims of a violent attack or a natural disaster) are in our thoughts and prayers.” Many have noted that the phrase has become a polite way of saying “It is terrible that this has happened but I am not going to take any action to prevent future incidents like it from taking place.” Certainly our promises to pray, as well as our prayers themselves, have to be more than a spiritual escape clause.
Thus, following the sermon, we will sing this hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
If We Just Talk of Thoughts and Prayers
If we just talk of thoughts and prayers
And don’t live out a faith that dares,
And don’t take on the ways of death,
Our thoughts and prayers are fleeting breath.
If we just dream of what could be
And do not build community,
And do not seek to change our ways,
Our dreams of change are false displays.
If we just sing of doing good
And don’t walk through our neighborhood
To learn its hope, to ease its pain,
Our talk of good is simply vain.
God, may our prayers and dreams and songs
Lead to a faith that takes on wrongs —
That works for peace and justice, too.
Then will our prayers bring joy to you.
Prayers of the Congregation
- The family of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee as they mourn his death. He was a political leader of integrity and will be missed by the people of his city as well as many around the world
- All the families who have been devastated by gun violence this year
- All who are fighting fires, all who are fleeing fires, all who figuring out how to rebuild following fire
- The Ash and Cheatham families on the death of Jim Cheatham
- Rick McKillop for his dad (recovering from surgery) and his mom (death of her brother)
- Jesus Portillo for his brother Al and sister-in-law Judy (health) Max and Merle (health)
- Dave Robinson for his mom and dad (health)
- Lari Mussati for her friend John (health)
- LeAnn Flesher for the First Presbyterian Church of LeSeur, MN (the church she grew up in) as it prepares to close at the end of January
- Marie Johnson for her sister-in- law Pat who is seriously ill and for sister-in-law Brenda who is caring for her
- The Baptist Churches of Cuba
- The churches of the Evergreen Baptist Association
- Jewelle Gibbs (recuperating from knee surgery)
- Larry Sims for his family
- Mary Karne for Maryla
- Ann Fields for her family
- Zondra Martin for Marty
- All who are in need of housing and employment
- LCC Teachers Teresita and Joni (health)
- Sandra Dunn
- Robert Wilkins
- Alanna Shadowsong
- Anthony Marshall and Leslyn Henry
- Al Johnson and Roy Browner
- Lloyd Scott
- Toni Daniels
- Margaret Olodoja
- Our Sponsor-a-Family ministry
- All our young adults
- All who are facing additional stress during the holidays
- All who are working for justice, equality and freedom
- Bruce Quan and John Claassen as they work to reduce homelessness in Oakland
- The citizens of Alabama as they elect a United States Senator today. Their vote is important to the ethical well-being of our nation.
The ordination service for Sydney Webster will be this Saturday, December 16, at 2:00 in the Sanctuary. A reception will follow.