Greetings on this Day of Epiphany 2015. May we all find ways to follow the Bright Star of Hope in these early days of the new year.
I will continue my sermon series, “Four Essential Prayers for the New Year” this Sunday as we read Genesis 25:19-28 and consider Rebekah’s prayer for understanding as her yet to be born twins, Esau and Jacob, struggle in her womb – “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” Rebekah, like we often do, wonders if there is purpose to her pain, significance to her struggle.
Origen, a leader in the North African Church in the 3rd century A.D., saw in Rebekah a struggle that exists within each of us. “I think that this can be said also of each of us as individuals that ‘two nations and two peoples are within you.’ For there is a people of virtue within us, and there is no less a people of vice within us. ‘For from our heart proceeds evil thoughts, adulteries, thefts, false testimonies (Matt 15;19),’ but also ‘ deceits, contentions, heresies, jealousies, revelings and such like. (Gal. 5:20-21)’…Yet, another people, begotten in the Spirit, is found within us. For the ‘fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, temperance and purity’.”
Rebekah’s prayer is an essential prayer because it reminds of our humanity, that we are often torn between the good that we want to do and the indifference that holds us firmly in its grasp. It is an essential prayer because it reminds us that, like Jesus, we are tempted to choose the quick fix over the enduring answer. It is an essential prayer because it reminds us to approach every situation, every person humbly because we have the potential to do them great good as well as great harm. It reminds us that in families and communities we rub up against each other, bump into each other, latch on to each other, in sometimes irritating ways and so we are always learning how to fight fair, how to stick up for ourselves while still respecting the worth of the other.
Prayers of the Congregation
- Teresa Hopkins as she grieves the death of her grandfather
- All who are grieving
- All who are looking for work
- Thanksgiving with Kay Baxter that Jamie is doing well and that Stacey is in good health
- Gloria and Phil Meads for June and Bill (wisdom), Deanna (health), Irene Jennings (health)
- Patricia Butterfield for Gordon White (health)
- Mary Sue Meads for her friends Ginny and Allison
- Irene Jennings for her son Jonathan
- Melissa, Lee, Margaret, residents of the SNF at Piedmont Gardens who requested prayer at the Communion Service on Sunday
- Ann Fields for her family
- Doris and Ted Evans for their family
- Johanna and Paul Wilkinson for Gloria Joseph
- Alean Saunders-Coffey for the Reddick and Pantoja families
- Myr Saxton and Lucille Riggins
- Sheryl and Dave Gattey for their nephew Phil
- Thanksgiving with Alodia Corpuz on her brother’s 68th birthday
- The staff, parents and children of our Lakeshore Children’s Center as the new year begins
- The eastern half of the United States as it braces for a very cold week
- The Syrian refugees in Lebanon in the midst of a frigid winter
- Allison and Roehl for their familes, particularly Allison’s sister Jenny as she prepares to adopt a child
- Sydney Webster for her family
- Our young adults as they face the responsibilities of the new year
- Jerry Brown as he begins his second term (for the second time) as Governor of California
- Libby Schaaf as she begins her work as Mayor of Oakland
- Thanksgiving for the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering and the network of caring it represents
Please join Forever Young as we host the showing of a documentary film at our monthly lunch meeting on Saturday January 10th. The film maker is Rev. Amelia Chua, a member of Lakeshore and a graduate of the American Baptist Church of the West. Amelia was also ordained at Lakeshore, although she was eventually called to pastor in the United Methodist Church. We are privileged to show her documentary film, “Lloyd and Marian”, the story of the life experiences and relationship challenges faced by Japanese American United Methodist pastor, Rev. Lloyd Wake and his wife Marian Wake, a social worker. Both in their 90’s now, they faced living through the struggles of internment camps as well as the normal challenges of growing in their marriage, family and careers. Pending travel arrangements, we hope to have the Wake’s themselves join us to answer questions about the movie.
Please make plans to come share this very special event! Our meeting will begin earlier than usual. We will begin with a light lunch at 12:00 noon, so we can start the movie at 12:30. We will have desserts and coffee afterwards, and have a question and answer session with the filmmaker and hopefully her film subjects. Please plan to come and bring a friend! Please RSVP to George Lee at 832-2408, Alodia Corpuz at 530-5743 or Sandra Lee at 612-7533