May 6, 2014

Thank you to everyone who helped make the first Sunday of May, our monthly service of Communion, a most meaningful day. I trust that this coming Sunday, Mothers Day, will also be a day of beauty, inspiration and joy.

The central Scripture in our worship will be I Peter 2: 19-25. In this text the central theme is the suffering of the Christ, who bears great hurt that we might know great healing. A sub-theme is that because the Christ suffered unjustly, all who suffer unjustly should willingly bear their pain.

I am wondering if we don’t need to talk about this sub-theme. I am wondering if at this point in human history if it is not time to say, “Let us put that message on the shelf for far too many mothers have watched as their children have suffered unjustly for faith, for family, and for nation. Let us change that narrative for far too many mothers have been left to grieve after their children have been taken from them in the name of a ‘higher cause’.”

Let our prayer for Mothers Day be this prayer for the Human Family from the Book of Common Prayer.  O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son; Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unites us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Kay Baxter for her family, thanksgiving that Jamie’s transfer to Oakland has been approved
  • Myra Saxton and family as they mourn the death of an uncle and as they wait for construction to begin on their fire damaged home
  • Sandra Dunn for her father
  • Jim Cheatham for Claudia, recuperating from kidney transplant surgery and for his mom in hospice care
  • Carolyn Matthews for her daughter and family in the face of injustice
  • Skip Keller (Neighbor of Declan and Sheila Brown) for his father
  • Ken Kirkey for his father
  • Ann Branch as she continues to recuperate from surgery
  • Shirley Jones
  • Joan Thatcher, ongoing medical concerns
  • Ted and Doris Evans
  • Steve and Carol Leichter
  • George and Sylvia Lee
  • Wally Bryen for his brother and sister
  • Roy Browner for his grandfather
  • Geetha Thaker for her mother
  • Katrina Lau for her grandmother
  • The escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russia
  • The nation of Israel as it commemorates its 66th birthday, a prayer for a national commitment to the well being all the people of the Middle East
  • Courtney Wusthoff and Daniel Velazquez as they prepare for the birth of their son
  • Thanksgiving with Kristen and David Phillips on Dashiel’s first birthday
  • Thanksgiving with Erica Quinn and family on the birth of her daughter, Naima

Announcements

Disappointment – As many of you know I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  Here is an excerpt from the BJC’s response to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of Galloway vs. Greece, NY.

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, opposing the town’s practice of opening municipal meetings with prayer, saying the practice violates the conscience of those who have to be in attendance to participate in the meeting. The Court, however, referred to the “ceremonial” prayers at the beginning of a legislative session offered by invited clergy as compatible with the Establishment Clause based upon historical precedent.

“While the Court ruled for the town under the historic tradition of ceremonial prayer for lawmakers, local governments can – and should – take steps to ensure that citizens are not forced into religious acts at a government meeting,” said K. Hollyn Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee. “It is hard to square a government-led religious practice in a local municipal meeting with the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights of citizenship without regard to religion.”

As cited in Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent, the BJC brief says the practice infringes the liberty of conscience of those in attendance. Kagan wrote that the prayer-givers in Greece “appear almost always to assume that everyone in the room is Christian (and of a kind who has no objection to government sponsored worship).” Her footnote points out that the BJC brief says “many Christians believe … that their freedom of conscience is violated when they are pressured to participate in government prayer, because such acts of worship should only be performed voluntarily.