March 28, 2017

Dear LABC,

During Lent we are considering the theme of sacrifice in our Bible Studies. While sacrifice often entails giving something up, in the Hebrew Bible its root meaning is to “to draw near.” The understanding is that as we make our offerings, as we give something up to God, God draws near to us and we are drawn near to God.

We read the story of Abram being called by God to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldees and journey to the land God has prepared for him and his family. The implied promise is that as Abram gave up the security of the known, God would draw near to him in the insecurity of the unknown.

We read the Ten Commandments through the lens of sacrifice learning that in each of the commandments we are asked to give something up (other gods, anger, violence, pride, desire, etc.) with the promise that as we give up these often destructive, but comfortingly familiar, behaviors, God draws near to us and we draw near to God.

The basic understanding is that the clutter of our lives can act as a barrier to experiencing the presence of the Eternal One. Lent is a time to consider the clutter and actually give up some of it. An environmentally aware way of looking at it is that we give the clutter to God and God, who makes all things new, draws near by refining it, renewing it, recycling it. God draws near by taking what is destructive and making it constructive.

In faith, let us continue to learn the lessons of sacrifice as we journey toward Easter.

Jim H.

The Prayers of the Congregation

  • Jerry Wolf as he mourns the death of his brother-in-law, John Meier
  • All who are grieving
  • Katrina Lau (health)
  • All who are traveling
  • James and Jewelle Gibbs for brother-in-law, Harold Haizlip  (Summit Hospital)
  • All who come to the church for assistance
  • Marian Ott (health)
  • Jan Scott (health)
  • Ann Fields for her family
  • Dorothy Paul for her mother (health)
  • All our homebound members
  • Alean Saunders-Coffey for her daughter-in-law and family (health)
  • The Picou-Broadnax family for Aaliyah
  • Zondra Martin for her family
  • Myra Saxton and Lucille Riggins
  • Jo Robinson (health)
  • Kay Baxter for her family
  • President Trump and cabinet, U.S. Congress
  • Mary Karne for Maryla (health)
  • Carol Travis as she cares for her brother
  • George Lee for friend, Sophie
  • Sandra Dunn
  • Skip Keller for his dad
  • Rajeev and Alice Singh for Aaron and for Alice’s mother
  • Ruben and Cecil for nephew, River
  • Toni Daniels
  • Margaret Oladoja and family
  • Lloyd Scott
  • Karen DeWeese, Shell Ridge Community Church (hospitalized)
  • The Grand Lake Gardens and Piedmont Gardens communities
  • Sybil Alexander (preparing for surgery)
  • Thanksgiving with John and Jo Giles on the birth of their grandson, Jaemon Wayne Hamilton, born on March 9
  • Thanksgiving for the Oakland Fire Department and all first responders as well as prayers for  the families of those that perished as well as  those displaced by the apartment building fire on San Pablo Avenue on Monday

The Oakland Running Festival is this Sunday, April 2. Check the festival website to find your best route to church – www.oaklandmarathon.com

The memorial service for Joan Thatcher will be Wednesday, May 10 at 1:00 in the Sanctuary. The day and time were chosen in recognition of all the Wednesday, 1:00, gatherings of Baptists Lunching Together that Joan organized.