October 6, 2015

Greetings from Washington DC.

I write today from our nation’s capital where I am attending the meetings of the Board of Directors of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. The work of the BJC is to educate, legislate and litigate in support of the  free exercise of religion and against governmental establishment of religion.  In her report to the Board our General Counsel, Hollyn Holman, reminded us of the complexity of our work saying that in the realm of religious liberty there is both high principle and great ambiguity.

Matters of prayer today are the development of laws and practices that will reduce gun violence in the United States, the need to support American Baptist International Mission through the World Mission Offering, the members of the congregations of the Evergreen Baptist Association as they prepare to gather in Palo Alto for their Annual Meetings,  the Baptist Joint Committee on the announcement of long time Executive Director, Brent Walker, that he will be retiring at the end of 2016, all the households of LABC, all who need housing, medical care, employment and hope, all who are grieving, and all who are giving thanks for good news, new arrivals,  and surprising blessings

On Sunday my sermon will be “The Flow of Worship,” taken from Hebrews 4: 12-16. I will note that at the heart of Baptist worship is the proclamation of the good news that in the hour of need we may approach “the throne of grace” and receive life changing mercy. However, the experience of  mercy is not reserved to a single moment in worship but is found in the entirety of the service. It follows that in life and in faith, grace is a gift for the journey rather than a promise for a specific destination.

A Prayer For You This Week

May the Great Ruler of all high places, God of many names, touch you with a wind that keeps you strong, for all the days to come. Amen

Postscript

Governor Brown signed the End of Life Option Act into law on October 5. It will take effect next year. The Governor’s remarks on signing the bill were most thoughtful. “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill and I wouldn’t deny that right to others.