I have found your responses to my question “What does Jesus teaching to love your enemies mean to you?” to be moving and compelling. These words from Evan Wilkinson, one of our teens, is representative of your important insights. “The text said, to pray for your enemies. To me this could be seen as praying for students at school that aren’t very kind to others. Because you never know what could be going on in their lives. Maybe they are taking their anger out on others because of things going on at home. It’s hard for people who don’t know kindness to give it back.”
All of your responses are included in the reflection guide that will be available at our Ash Wednesday Vigils this Wednesday. I hope you join us for a moment to read, pray, light a candle and receive the ashes. The Sanctuary will be open from 7-8 in the morning, 12-1 in the afternoon and 5-6 in the evening.
Prayers of the Congregation
David Rovenpara (health), thanksgiving for a settlement in the OUSD teachers strike, Marie Johnson for Shari (health), Brian, Ellen Ruth’s family and UC Retirement Administration as it goes live with a new administration system, Dayle and Darlene Scott for Dayle’s brother Don (health), Chuck Johnston for Kevin (health), Joan Patten for Sierra, Robert Wilkins, the people of Haiti, the people of Venezuela, the people of Nigeria, Amber and Aries (discernment), Don Dresser (health), Jamie Reid (health), Cynthia Nelson (health), Cecil White (health), Sandra Dunn (health), Gloria and Phil for June, Billy, Jane, Tiffany, Alfonso, Linda and granddaughter Arielle (health), Mary Karne for daughter Maryla (health), Rafael Soto for his work colleagues and for the people of Puerto Rico, Julio Cash for his mother, the homeless residents of the Bay Area, all our students, teachers and school employees, all our young adults, Margaret Oladoja, thanksgiving for the LABC office staff and volunteers, Bjoe Morris (health), Jeanne Robinson for her sister-in-law Laurlee, Dale Edmondson for his family, Christopher Thom, Rita Jennings (health), John and Laura (health) Landgraf, Al Johnson and Roy Browner, Lloyd Scott, Brian Byamukama, Jesse Lucas, Sydney Webster (work demands), Father Mike Mautner (St. Peter’s Episcopal) for his mother, Carole Lee for her husband Henry, Toni Daniels, Alice Butler for her sister Pat Miles (health), Maya Hart for her family, Clyde Sotomey (health), George Harper for his brother Otis (health), Myra Saxton for the Avery family, John Lee for his sister Cordia, Marian Ott for Mary Mann Ellen’s family as they mourn, John and Carol Townsend (health), Sandra and George Lee as they mourn the death of Howard, the husband of cousin and niece Lydia, Father Aidan M. for the health of his religious tradition, Barbara Bowman, The United Methodist Church in a time of decision-making that will greatly affect their GLBT members and their families, Carol Leichter for her son Joey and her brother Tom, Roxanne Jones for her son as he moves to Texas, the victims of tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia, justice for the family of Stephon Clark, Jeanne Robinson son Bill and daughter-in-law Jo as they care for Jo’s mom, Tyrone Mack for his family.
A recent Associated Press story begins, “It has been a wrenching season for three of America’s largest religious denominations, as sex-abuse scandals and a schism over LGBT inclusion fuel anguish and anger within the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist and United Methodist churches. There’s rising concern that the crises will boost the ranks of young people disillusioned by organized religion.
“Every denomination is tremendously worried about retaining or attracting young people,” said Stephen Schneck, a political science professor at Catholic University. “The sex-abuse scandals will have a spillover effect on attitudes toward religion in general. I don’t think any denomination is going to not take a hit.”
Once again our religious traditions are, in a less than favorable way, in the news. Once again we are showing that our understandings of the connections between sexuality, justice, power and integrity are less than profound. My simple advice. Let’s advance the notion that sexuality needs to be rooted in love and at the same time confess that we have a woefully inadequate theology of love; acknowledge that for all our talk about love we have a very underdeveloped understanding of this powerful reality. Let’s go to work on expanding our understanding of love in the hope that, in turn, we will be better able to treat each other fairly, justly and gently.
Time Change – Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night.
March 23 and 24 Worship Schedule – Saturday evening, 6-8 Pause; Sunday afternoon 12:00, Bible Study, 1:00, Worship – a simple service including a Baby Dedication and time for reflection (Changes due to Oakland Running Festival)