Update, Saturday, January 30, 2021
January 29, 2021
With the saying “people need to hear things three times in order to remember them” in mind, here is portion of my “Back in 1860” sermon which I will deliver tomorrow, Annual Meeting Sunday.
Clearly, 2021 is not 1854 or 1860 (the years in which Oakland First Baptist Church and Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church were founded). Thus, it is important for us to consider why our churches were founded in the the first place and to wonder if we are still in touch with that original inspiration, to ask if we are still shaped by our “first love.”
This is what I mean by that. Around 70 or 80 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection a visonary named John wrote to the churches founded in Jesus name in Asia Minor. His letter is known to us as The Revelation to John, the last book of the New Testament. To those early churches he had words of both encouragment and criticism. He praised the church at Ephesus for their commitment to the truth but wondered if, in this devotion, they had “lost their first love.” He wondered if they were so concerned about being doctrinally correct that they had forgotten about being caring and compassionate.
John’s challenge to the Ephesians comes to us today. In our focus on being technologically able, financially stable, respected for stands for justice, responsive to societal change we must not forget our first love. We must not move away from that commitment which called OFBC and LABC into being, the commitment to “be Jesus” in that strange new world which was, and is, the San Francisco Bay Area.
I look forward to sharing the rest of the sermon with you tomorrow. Zoom Church is at 10:00. The Annual meetings of LABC, OFBC and their respective foundations will follow.
LABC Reads meets this morning at 9:00. A Time For Prayer follows at 10:00.