January 3, 2013

Sunday, January 6 – Epiphany Sunday, Service of Communion

Sermon Title: “Emancipation, Epiphany and Enlightenment”
Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Theme: The road to, and beyond, the Emancipation Proclamation like the road to, and beyond the Epiphany, is long and winding.

One hundred and fifty years ago, January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation decreeing an end to slavery in Confederate held territory. Upon signing the Proclamation Lincoln said “I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper. If my name goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”

The road to the Emancipation Proclamation was a long and winding one and the road beyond the Proclamation certainly did not lead directly to liberty, justice and opportunity for the freed slaves, their children, their grand-children or their great grand-children. On the 100th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd of 7,000 at the Oakland Municipal Auditorium. On that occasion, nearly a century after the end of the Civil War, he found it necessary to issue a call for a Second Emancipation Proclamation in order to further efforts of social equality throughout the nation.

Liberty, justice and equal opportunity remain elusive goals. The road that leads in their direction is long and winding.

Two thousand years ago some astrologers from Persia followed a long and winding road to Jerusalem, and then to Bethlehem, on a pilgrimage to pay homage to a newborn king. After kneeling to worship and offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh these magi returned home by another way – likely yet another long and winding road.

The roads that leads us to Emancipation, to Epiphany, to moral and spiritual enlightenment are long and winding. They are challenging and perplexing. They are also important and rewarding.

We do well to remember the long and winding nature of the roads that lead us to truth, hope and salvation. They demand our best. They require us to pay continual attention. Their passage requires that we have spiritual resources to draw on. I trust that it will be these resources we replenish as we gather at the Welcome Table, the Communion Table called into being by newborn king the magi came to worship.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • The family of Lura Ferguson (longtime member of Oakland First Baptist Church) as they greive her death (December 30, 2012)
  • Beverly Cooper – Kaiser Hospital Oakland
  • Harrison Williams – Good Samaritan Hospital, San Jose
  • Leona Sims – Summit Hospital
  • Ann Fields for her family
  • Phil and Gloria Meads for Cynthia Nelson, Samuel Paul, all who are unemployed, all who are ill
  • Brenda McCarthy, thanksgiving for the life of her mom, Dorothy Tremble who would have been 88 on December 29
  • Jesus Portillo
  • Our Middle Schoolers and their leaders as they serve the meal at St. Mary’s Center on Saturday evening
  • The people of Syria, the death toll in that country is now over 60,000 people
  • The people of Burma
  • The people of the Central African Republic
  • The People of both North and South Korea
  • Secretary of State Hilary Clinton as she recuperates
  • A way beyond  the gun violence epidemic that besets our nation
  • Parkes and Kathy Johnson as the care for Kathy’s mom
  • Carol and Steve Leichter
  • All who find the start of a new year a little bit daunting

Announcements

A series of New Member Classes begins this Sunday after worship. Come learn about what it means to be part of our community.

Many Hands, Light Work – Everyone that can help de-decorate the Sanctuary and Family Room this Sunday please do so. Even  one half-hour of your time would mean a lot.