I have just returned from the American Baptist Ministers Council of the Greater Bay Area Retreat and I am looking forward to returning to the pulpit this coming Sunday, Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday 2014. In our worship the central Scripture will be Psalm 40: 1-11. I will note that this Psalm’s emphasis on the practice of gratitude, “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us, none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them they would be more than can be counted.” was also an emphasis in Dr. King’s last sermon. He delivered the sermon on April 3, 1968, the night before we was assassinated. He delivered it at Mason Temple, the Church of God in Christ Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. He was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers and to encourage the community to demand justice for them.
An example of Dr. King’s emphasis on gratitude, on giving thanks in the moment for the blessings of the moment, are his words, “Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, ‘If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.” His point was that despite the daunting challenges of the time, he was grateful for the opportunity to address those needs; grateful for the friends he was addressing them with.
My invitation will be for us all to develop the same understanding of, and commitment to, the spiritual practice of gratitude.
Prayers of the Congregation
- Irene Jennings, Piedmont Gardens SNF
- Gloria and Phil Meads and Cindy Nelson for Carlos Elias and Max Powers
- Zondra Martin for her family, particularly nephew Stephen Dawson
- Jewelle and James Gibbs, Jewelle hand surgery on January 21
- Kay Baxter for Jamie and Stacey
- Ann Fields for her brother Ezra
- Sandra Dunn for her brother in law, Dr. Eddie Carbin
- Debra Dizin for her friend Cupcake, health and guidance
- Tyrone Mack and family as they mourn Alan Mack
- Sybil Alexander as she recuperates from back surgery
- Mary Karne for her daughter Maryla
- All who are dealing with the flu this season
- Thanksgiving with Marcia Patton following hip surgery
- Thanksgiving for the significant ministry of our sister American Baptist Congregations in the Bay Area
- Thanksgiving that Henry Hopkins has been gaining weight
- Thanksgiving for those who take great risk to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Syria
- Thanksgiving with Cecil White that he brother is doing very well
(I recognize that no list of prayers can be called a complete and comprehensive list. However, it is a great help to me have your prayer requests in writing. You can get them to me by using the registration cards on Sunday morning or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Leaving a message in my voicemail box at 510-893-2484 is also a good way to let me know of concerns and celebrations.