January 7, 2020

Family,

The first full week of 2020 finds the world in a state of great anxiety. The killing of a prominent Iranian general in Iraq by the United States threatens to further destabilize what was already a very precarious situation in the Middle East.

Make no mistake about it, Maj. General Quassim Suleimani, was not a good person. He was the leader of much of Iran’s foreign aggression and internal repression. That being said, his killing may do much more harm than good. Iran is likely to respond militarily which would lead to an even more forceful response from the United States. The cycle of escalation could engulf many nations.

The world is a dangerous place. The leaders of nations have to make very difficult economic and military decisions. The situation is worsened when those leaders lack moral credibility. That lack gives the citizens reason to distrust their leaders’ decisions. Such is certainly the case with the Trump administration.

While many things are unclear, what is clear is that people of faith and goodwill must question all calls for war, all calls for the demonizing of entire populations, all calls to equate the actions of a political leader with the complete will of God.

What is clear is that we must, in our own circles of influence, exhibit the values of justice, humility and thoughtful response that we call for in the international realm.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with us.

Jim H.

Prayers of the Congregation

Hallie Randel for her mom; Dorothy Shanks as she mourns the death of her son; Jewelle and James Gibbs; Jeanne Robinson; Mary Karne for Maryla; Zondra and Marty Martin; Daphne Croy (Chin) for her mother-in-law; Katrina Lau; Geetha, Darshan and Emmanuel Thaker; Jesus Portillo for Jude; Karen Hopkins for Georgianne and Connie; Jesse Lucas; Bidias for Ashley and the homeless of our city; Anne MacMillan for Stephanie; Larry Sims for his great-grandson; Charlotte Myers; Sandra Lee for the residents and employees of Piedmont Gardens; Danielle Heckman for her dad; The people of Australia; Rick McKillop for his family; Roy Browner and Al Johnson; Thanksgiving with Karen Okusu on the completion of her radiation treatments; George Cummings; The people of Puerto Rico, The people of Iraq and Iran; The Meads family for Arielle,  The Young Adults of LABC; The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

Invitations

Soup and Study and Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study return this week. Flick Flack meets on Friday evening. Forever Young gathers for lunch on Saturday (Please RSVP to George or Alodia). Pastor Jim appears on Mosaic, KPIX Channel 5 at 5:30 a.m., on Sunday. The LABC Leadership Breakfast is on Sunday at 8:30. In worship on Sunday we will consider the significance of the baptism of Jesus.

The terrible trials of internal and international conflicts, often aggravated by ruthless acts of violence, have an enduring effect on the body and soul of humanity. Every war is a form of fratricide that destroys the human family’s innate vocation to brotherhood.

Pope Francis