Midweek Message

February 7, 2012

Jim Hopkins

February 7, 2012

Last week I began the Midweek Message with the first paragraph of a prayer of Howard Thurman’s from 1951 titled  “O God, I Need Thee.” This is the second paragraph of the prayer.
I need Thy sense of order.  The confusion of the details of living is sometimes overwhelming.  The little things keep getting in my way providing ready-made excuses for failure to do and be what I know I ought to do and be.  Much time is spent on things that are not very important while significant things are put into an insignificant place in my scheme of order. I must unscramble my affairs so that my life will be order.  O God, I need Thy sense of order.
There was a clear connection between Carolyn’s sermon this past Sunday on the centrality of education to both the life of faith and the civic life of the community and Monday morning’s American Bible Society Daily Bible Reading(http://dailybible.americanbible.org/) from the third chapter of the Gospel of John. In John, Nicodemus, a teacher and leader of the Pharisees, visits Jesus at night. Over the course of the gospel Nicodemus proves himself to be a model for us of a teacher who is willing to learn and a student who is prepared to teach. Rare is the person who is solely a teacher or only a student.  Most of move back and forth between these identities.
This coming Sunday my sermon is titled”Still Reaching.” The texts it is taken from are 2 Kings 5: 1-14 and Mark 1: 40-45. In both these texts someone is cured of leprosy. In 2 Kings Namaan, a military leader from Aram (Syria) is healed after following Elisha’s instructions to immerse himself in the Jordan River seven times.  In Mark a leper begs Jesus to heal him and is healed after Jesus reaches out and touches him.  In reaching out to touch and heal the leper Jesus shattered the conception that the purpose of faith is to establish boundaries of purity, he destroyed the notion that communities of faith are be sacred fortresses. As we consider the Mark text the question we face is not “Is Jesus still reaching?”  Instead, it is “Is that reach being extended through us?”

Prayers of the Congregation

  • John Small on the death of his aunt
  • Jeanette Paige and family as they mourn
  • Hershall Vinson and family as they mourn
  • Thanksgiving with Sandra Dunn on a steady recuperation
  • Thanksgiving with Annelle Clute on a steady recuperation
  • Thanksgiving with Shirley Jones on a steady recuperation
  • Marie Johnson for her friend Cecilia
  • Marc and Helen Harrison for Marc’s dad and for Mike Casey
  • Karen Hopkins for mom, her brother and for David P. (back surgery likely on Thursday)
  • The peace of Oakland, the peace of our world
  • Thanksgiving with Brandon Sturdivant and Angelica on the birth of  a daughter
  • The families of the participants in the Wednesday Morning Prayer and Bible Study
  • The ministry of the Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate
  • The ministry of the American Baptist Seminary of the West
  • The ministry of the Oakland Community Organizations
  • The ministry of the American Baptist Churches USA
  • The ministry of the National Council of Churches
  • The ministry of the MMBB
  • LeAnn Snow as she teaches in Korea
  • Jim Jeffery
  • Jessie Guiton for Caleb, Harvell, Teola and Mr. Lee
  • Al Johnson and Roy Browner (searching for new home)
  • Toni Daniels- Gordon for Jullien, Pamela, Ken and self
  • Norman Allen and all the citizens of the streets
  • Carol and Steve Leichter
  • Michael Sumrall and Karen Okusu as the new semester has begun at ABSW
  • Kay Baxter for Jamie and for Stacey
  • The people of The Congo in the midst of one of the longest running civil wars in modern history (who controls the mineral wealth of the country)
  • Maxine O’Guinn for Shinita and Leonard


If for no other reason, you will want to be in attendance this Sunday to participate in the premier of  “African American History: The Bingo Version.” This will be an intergenerational educational event and will take place in the Family Room following Coffee Hour.  The Coffee Hour will honor those with February birthdays, most notably Arnold Anderson who is celebrating his 99th Birthday on Saturday!
Our OCO Committee invites you to participate in a conversation with a representative from the Oakland Tech PTA Wednesday evening at 5:00 in the Family Room.
I just received word of the death of my uncle, The Reverend Frank B. Hopkins, the last of my dad’s siblings. Frank’s entire ministerial career was in the state of North Carolina. He had been in failing health for several years.  I give thanks for his memory and ask prayers for my cousins as they mourn their father.