One of the things I treasure about Sundays is the occasional opportunity to greet folk as they gather in the Sanctuary for worship. The choir or bell choir is usually rehearsing providing spirited back drop to what can often be Spirit given opportunities to listen in on what is going in people’s lives.
This past Sunday was a good example of this. I already had a list of concerns I wanted to lift up in the service in hand. On that list were:
- Nedra Hathaway who’s brother, Tex, passed away on Friday
- Tina Dright, who’s former husband, Rovel, passed away on Monday
- Gloria Meads, who was preparing for surgery on Monday the 7th
- Our nation, which is mourning the death of former first-lady, Nancy Reagan
- Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, who had a fine Letter to the Editor published in Friday’s SF Chronicle
As I prepared the pulpit area Rafael Soto, who was helping set up microphones with Larry Sims, said, “Pastor, I meant to call you. Do you have a minute?” I assured him I did and we went to the back row of the Sanctuary to sit. There, he told me that he was leaving in the evening for his native Puerto Rico because his father, Onofre, had been slain in the middle of last week. One of the reasons I do what I do is to be present, in the name of the Church, with people in such situations.
Rafael and I talked and prayed and as we concluded I saw Aaron Singh, one of our teenagers, several rows in front us. Knowing that Aaron had been experiencing some pain and that he had undergone an MRI earlier in the week, I asked him how he was doing. His answer, “The Ibuprofen I am taking helps a lot. I hope people will pray for my continued healing.” One of the reasons I do what I do is to be present, in the name of the Church, with people in such situations.
After worship I found these prayer requests from Kay Baxter on my desk:
- Prayers for work for Stacey and Fernandez
- Prayers for healing for Abbott Harris and Armoni Reed
- Prayers for strength for Kay
As I write I am also remembering prayer requests from Joan Thatcher, Evan Wilkinson’s family, Marie Johnson for her work colleagues, for our shut-ins, Jesse Lucas in Haiti, Elizabeth Osajindu for her family, Ann Fields for her family, Karen Okusu for a speedy recovery from an injury, and Paul Martin and LeAnn Flesher for ABSW as its accreditation visit approaches. The Church exists to hold all of the above in prayer and to encourage its members to be present for each other as best we are able.
The events of the week include: Soup and Study, Prayer and Bible Study, Prayer Breakfast in Honor of 70th Anniversary of Faith Presbyterian Church (I have room at my table!) Flick Flack, Forever Young (Julian Nesbitt will be the guest musician) and Pastor Tanner preaching on Sunday (Daylight Savings Time Begins).