Midweek Message

December 17, 2013

Jim Hopkins

December 17, 2013

Have you ever had an insight, thought or question come to you, seemingly out of nowhere, the middle of the night? I had such an experience Sunday night/Monday morning. The thought was simply “That isn’t in Luke.” I got up, looked it up and it wasn’t. Therefore, I need to offer an apology. What am I talking about? Simply this, my sermon on Sunday was about the beginning of Luke and how the theme of God removing barriers to belonging begins with Zechariah and Elizabeth having the social stigma (in ancient societies) of childlessness removed. I said that this theme continues throughout the gospel. A decent sermon and an accurate point. However, in a rhetorical flourish I made the decision to omit a reference to Simon the Cyrene, who carried the cross of Jesus, from my sermon and include the account of the distraught Peter and Jesus having a conversation on the seashore. The story seemed to fit well and flow well. However, it is not found in the gospel of Luke. It is found in the gospel of John. This may be a small point but it is important for you to be able to trust what I am saying. Thus, I apologize for this careless inaccuracy.
This Sunday we do indeed turn to the gospel of John. With great flourish John begins at the beginning of time. “In the beginning was the Word,” he writes. This Word, he continues,  “dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” Scholars tell us that the most literal translation of the Greek word for dwelt is “pitched his tent among us” or “set his tabernacle among us.” John is clearly saying that in Jesus, God moved into our neighborhood.” My sermon will explore what it means to us for God to be our neighbor.

Prayers of the Congregation


  • Dale and Alice Edmondson on the death of their friend David Rees
  • Marie Johnson as she mourns the death of Don’s mom
  • Declan and Sheila Brown as they mourn the death of Mrs. Primo, an early mentor of theirs
  • Lari Musatti as she cares for her family in Cuba
  • Kristen Fry as she ministers with the street children of Uganda
  • Gloria and Phil Meads for Carlos
  • Carol and Steve Leichter for Roger
  • Kimberly Bolich for her dad
  • Fannye Leary (and Greg as he cares for her)
  • Ruth Smith (and Joyce as she cares for her)
  • Georgia Smith (and Freeman as he cares for her)
  • Phyllis Miller (and Naomi as she cares for her)
  • Joan Thatcher
  • Virginia Damretzky
  • Mary Karne for Maryla
  • Steve Hwa
  • Jim Robinson
  • Kay Baxter-Reid for Stacey and Jamie and for herself as she remembers Larry on his birthday
  • Melissa Creasy for the newly arrived refugee families in our city
  • The Dees-Dickerson family as they go through difficult times
  • All wh0 are seeking employment
  • Sandra Dunn for her brother in law
  • Mary Alice and Abe Cirimele for Sal and Sylvia Tedesco
  • The Ott/Glann/Harrison families for John and Sandy
  • Sharon Strachan as she undergoes knee surgery in Tucson
  • Larry Sims for his family
  • Marian Ott for her niece Nancy following a bicycle accident
  • Jeanette Paige in the midst of a job transition
  • Doug Marques as he undergoes surgery
  • Karen Okusu for her co-worker Kristi
  • Jim Door for his cousin
  • Cecil White for his his brother


  • Oakland’s Ceasefire Program and the families and communities it helps heal
  • City Team Ministry and lives it touches
  • With the Nesbitt family on Julian’s safe return from Washington D.C. where he sang at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the National Cathedral
  • The promise of a wonderful Children’s Program this Sunday
  • The ministry of the Lakeshore Children’s Center
  • The ongoing effort of OCO to bring equitable funding to all of Oakland’s Public Schools
  • The happy baby shower for Aaron and Teresa
  • The ministry of the American Baptist Seminary of the West
  • The ministry of the Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate
  • The ministry of the Samaritan Neighborhood Center
  • The ministry of Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy
  • The ministry of the Open Door Mission
  • The ministry of the churches of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association and the work of the Association itself


Thank you from your church staff for your generous Christmas gift. We feel greatly appreciated!
Christmas Caroling! If you would like to join in the happy chorus meet at the church at 4:00 this Saturday, December 21. Contact Jesse Lucas for more information.
A portion of our service on Sunday will be devoted to honoring the life of Bette Pancoe. It seems fitting to do so on the Sunday when the Adopt A Family gifts are wrapped, an event that most of us associate with her.
Help share the joy! If you can help drive and/or deliver Christmas gifts to our Adopt A Family families on Monday, December 23, please contact Sheila Sims.
Please invite a friend and join us for Christmas Eve worship at 7:30 p.m. Stan’s prelude will begin at 7:15.
The Midweek Message will return on December 31.