Greetings this first week of the 2019-20 school year for the Oakland Unified School District. The beginning of school signals a change in the routine for many households as students and teachers return to the classroom. It can be busy, stressful time.
Perhaps it is because Grandson Henry is starting kindergarten or because the Children’s Center is shifting from its summer schedule to its school year schedule, but I am keenly aware of this year’s return to the classroom. I offer this prayer for the students, parents, teachers, nurses, custodians, security officers and administrators.
God of All, When your son walked the earth he called his followers disciples, students. He invited to them to learn the ways of justice and mercy, of hope and peace. We would claim that identity and, as students of Jesus, we would pray for the students in our midst and all the students of the world. We pray for their families, their teachers, their school communities. Keep them safe. Help them learn. May the cities, states and countries in which they live value, support and adequately fund the educational endeavor. As disciples, students, of Jesus we would stand with all who are committed to the work of learning. Amen.
The Hymns of Dan Damon
This Sunday I will preach the second sermon of this three part series. This week’s title is “When Jesus Was a Refugee.” The hymn, based on Matthew 2:13-23, begins, When Jesus was a refugee – Egypt took him in – gave safety from King Herod and shelter from the wind. In the sermon I will invite us to reflect on how Joseph, Mary and Jesus might remember their sojourn in Egypt.
The Muslim community is currently celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice (Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac). This link has some useful information about the important feasts celebrated by the Islamic community. https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/08/09/world/eid-al-adha-2019-intl-scli/index.html
The Jewish community just completed their annual day of communal mourning which not only commemorates the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C. and the Second Temple in 70 A.D. but all subsequent tragedies that afflict human communities. Readings from the Book of Lamentations are central to the observance. This year many gatherings mourned the recent ICE raids on the processing plants in Mississippi.
Project WeHope/Dignity on Wheels will unveil a new Mobile Hygiene Trailer dedicated for use in Oakland this Thursday, August 15 at 2:00 in front of City Team Oakland, 722 Washington Avenue.
All the feedback from this past weekend’s retreat is that it was a wonderful and meaningful gathering. The theme was “Stand Strong, Hold On,” our theme for the year ahead. There is much to look forward to as we explore and unpack these words in the weeks and months ahead.