February 13, 2018

Dear LABC,

Thanks to all who inquired about my trip to Washington DC for the National Prayer Breakfast. It was an important experience, one that I will be reflecting on for a long time to come. I will write a more extensive report but my immediate impressions are:

  1. Faith, and expressions of faith such as prayer, have been, are now and will continue to be, very important in the United States of America.
  2. The question really is not if we will pray (human beings are a praying species) but how we will pray.
  3. On a national stage like the National Prayer Breakfast with over 3000 people in attendance, with the press hovering on every word, with people from over 140 countries represented, with many faith traditions invited to attend, it is important that the words spoken, the prayers offered and leaders participating represent a broad range of religious faith rather than just a narrow sliver. We need to be aware that while God certainly blesses the United States of America, God’s blessings do not stop at our national borders.
  4. The separation of church and state is an often misunderstood concept. It does not mean that we check our faith at the door when we are debating the directions our nation should take or the policies it should pursue. It does mean that, in the words of Brent Walker, “I cannot ask government to promote my religion if I don’t want government to promote somebody else’s religion; and I cannot permit government to hinder somebody else’s religion if I don’t want government to hinder my religion.”
  5. In our era many share the understanding that the primary role faith plays in our lives is to help us get through hard times; to help turn defeat into victory, sorrow into joy, adversity into success. We love to tell the stories of heroes who  live this out. Example – US Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who was shot in June while practicing for the annual House of Representatives Baseball Game, was chosen to be one of the keynote speakers as was Major Scot Smiley of the US Army who  returned to active duty after being blinded while serving in Iraq.

The Reverend Carolyn Matthews is our preacher this Sunday. The title of her sermon is  “Power, Knowledge, Love, Responsibility. Her text is Ephesians 3:14-21.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Jewelle and James Gibbs as they mourn the death of their brother-in-law, Harold Haizlipp
  • Marc and Helen Harrison for David Gunther (Marc’s step-dad) as he mourns the death of his son
  • All who are grieving
  • LCC Teachers Joni and Teresita (health)
  • Camille Parker for her daughter Carolyn (health)
  • Johanna Wilkinson for her mom, Gloria (health)
  • The NOLA community as it struggles in the work of rebuilding
  • The people of Puerto Rico, Capetown (South Africa), Palestine, and the Korean Peninsula
  • Peggy Rogers for her family
  • Marian Ott (health)
  • The homeless people of California (currently numbered at over 50,000)
  • The US Senate as it debates Immigration Reform

An LABC Member following Sunday’s Altar Call – “Thank you. We need to kneel more.”

Announcements

A pastoral invitation from me to participate in an Ash Wednesday Vigil this week.  7-8 a.m., 12-1 p.m. and 5-6 p.m.. Either Pastor Tanner or I will be there to pray with you and give you the ashes, an outward symbol of inward commitments.

Interfaith Council of Alameda County – Public discussion with elected officials about addressing homelessness in our communities. Thursday, February 15th from 12-2 at the LDS Visitors Center at the top of Lincoln Avenue.

Strength From the Roots – wordshop/retreat sharing migration stories, fitting with Lakeshore’s goal of understanding better how we can live out our identity as a Sanctuary Congregation. Saturday, February 17th from 1-4 at St. Columba Church (intersection of San Pablo and Alcatraz).