March 26, 2013

Holy Week Greetings,

As I survey my plans for the week ahead I am grateful for many opportunities to consider and proclaim the meaning of Good Friday and Easter, these essential elements of the “Greatest Story Ever Told.”

Tuesday Evening – Soup and Study – We will listen in as Professor Amy-Jill Levine outlines the figure of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea during the time of Jesus’ ministry, as we meet him on the pages of the New Testament and in extra-biblical sources. A question: Why has Christianity been so willing to heap scorn on Judas Iscariot, who according to Matthew was repentant, but quite open to a pathway for redemption to Pilate, who simply tried to wash his hands of the matter of Jesus?

Wednesday Morning – Prayer and Bible Study – See above

Thursday Afternoon – Prison Ministry with Chaplain Robinson, Declan Brown and Dave Gattey – As part of a service of communion at the Elmwood Correctional Facility we will read Luke’s account of the Last Supper lifting up the promise that when Jesus presides at the table  there is a place for all.

Friday Noon – Community Good Friday Service at Taylor United Methodist Church (12th and Adeline) –  I will speak on the second of Jesus’ last words “This day you will be with me in paradise.” noting that  Jesus makes it clear that those who are most difficult to love are within the love of God.

Friday Evening – Community Good Friday Service at First Congregational Church of Oakland (2501 Harrison) – I will speak on the seventh of Jesus’ last words “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” noting that the hands of God are infinitely more trustworthy than the hands of any human being.

Saturday Morning – Lakeshore Avenue Easter Parade and Egg Dyeing Party – The smiles of many children reflect the beauty of spring and the promise of the Resurrection.

Sunday Morning – Easter Worship – Beyond any explanation of the significance of the Resurrection is the event itself. If we feel that we don’t do a very good job of explaining our beliefs about Jesus’  Resurrection we are in good company. Consider Luke’s description of Peter leaving the empty tomb, “He went back home. perplexed at what had happened.”

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Prayers for those whose bodies need strength and healing – Bette Pancoe, Sybil Alexander, Charlotte Evans, Ted Evans, Jim Dorr’s cousin, John Taylor, Keith Paramour for his grandparents, Elizabeth Patrick, Barbara Bowman, Carol and Steve Leichter, Hershall Vinson, Marcie Giarizzo, Brenda McCarthy for the Maldanado and Dews families, Art Ferguson, Cecil White, Kay Baxter, Joni Nomura, Letty Hernandez, Helen Harrison preparing for surgery on Wednesday, Mary Karne’s cousin Carole Williams and husband Darrel, Chuck Johnston for his partner Kevin, George Lee for Sylvia, Edna Dorenzo
  • Prayers for those who are aging and their loved ones who care for them – Sandra Dunn for her father, Theresako Harris for her aunt, Larry Hutchings for his mother, Marc Harrison for his father, Sheryl Gattey for her mother, Helen Roberson for her mother, Ruth Smith, Naomi Nutting for her mother
  • Prayers for those who are grieving –  The Shell Ridge Community Church and PCBA family on the death of of Jerry Neale (A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, March 30 at 5:00 at Shell Ridge Community Church), All the families of Lakeshore who have lost loved one’s this year, John Lee and Paige Bence for the family of Martha Norman
  • Prayers for our loved ones who are facing significant challenges – Gloria and Phil Meads for their nieces, Kay Baxter for Stacey and Jamie, Georgia Upshaw for her friend Ginny, Toni Daniels for her family, Margaret Alexander for LaShaya and family, Joan Patten for her son Peter, Rowena Jackson for her son Paul, Barry Breaux for his family, Mary Lee, Max Powers, Ann Fields for her family, Mary Alice and Abe Cirimele for Sal and Sylvia Tedesco, Steve Reimer for his son Greg, Wil Ash for Joel Kaufman
  • Prayers for our community- For the ministry of our sister American Baptist and Alliance of Baptists congregations, for all who will come to our pre-Easter parade, for the Ceasefire work of the Oakland Community Organizations, for the work of St. Mary’s Center, Harbor House, Open Door Mission and Berkeley Food and Housing Project, for the Supreme Court as it prepares to hear arguments in regard to Marriage Equality, for Mayor Quan and members of the City Council, Wally Bryen as he serves as a chaplain at Stanford Hospital, our Jewish sisters and brothers as they celebrate the Passover
  • Prayers for people we don’t know who  are facing challenges we can’t imagine- For our Kachin brothers and sister, those who are incarcerated, all who are affected by gun violence, the people of Haiti, the people of the Middle East, may the hope occasioned by Presiden’t Obama’s visit become a just and lasting peace
  • Prayers of gratitude – For the promises of Easter, For your generous response to the America For Christ Offering, with the Williams family, for Bryce Dawkins, Michael Glann, Aaveya O’Guinn and Atira O”Guinn who will be baptized this Sunday
  • Prayers for ourselves – May each of us know peace, joy, acceptance and encouragement 

Announcements

Volunteers and Hard Boiled Eggs still needed for the big party on Saturday. A note from Paige Bence – “Just in case you want to let others know – the best price John and I have seen for eggs is at Walgreen’s this week.  They are $1 for a dozen.” The event will be held rain or shine.

If you would like to be in the Community Choir at the evening Good Friday service please be at First Congregational at 5:30 for the one and only rehearsal.

Looking ahead – The Reverend Dr. David Laubach of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies will be with us at our morning worship service on April 7 to present yours truly with the American Baptist Religious Freedom Award.

Chuck J. expresses his gratitude for Kevin’s rapid recovery from a stroke and for all the prayers and words of encourgement that have come his way. Keven went to work on Monday.

The Alliance of Baptists and Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists were official particpants in a Service of Prayer for Love and Justice held Monday evening at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington D.C. in advance of the Supreme Court hearings in regard to California Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. This link leads to an important essay by Miguel de la Torre on Christianity’s struggle to correctly interpret the gift of marriage.