Midweek Message

Update, Wednesday, April 21 (A Day For New Beginnings)

Jim Hopkins

April 21, 2021


We begin today with a quiet prayer of gratitude for the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. The verdict is not a cause for wild celebration. In the words of Vice-President Kamala Harris, “a measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.”

On Monday evening there was a community vigil at the “Know Justice, Know Peace Memorial” on Mandana Green across the street from the church. The main purpose was to pray for the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin as they begin their deliberations. Our prayers were for justice, guidance, wisdom and courage. Sixty-four peace lilies were placed as a sign of our ongoing commitment to the peace of our cities.

Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas places a lily at the “Know Justice, Know Peace” Memorial on Mandana Green

This litany expresses well the spirit of the vigil and the hope we carry today.

Jesus said,
“Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid.”
(John 14:27)

Let us pray:

Jesus, who was misunderstood, maligned and murdered,
you were there as he breathed his last.
You are there with the jurors now.
You are with us all as we wait.
Jesus, who wept in anguish,
   hear our sorrow and grief.
Jesus, who turned over tables,
   see our anger and rage.
Jesus, who shared our life and bore our death,
   feel our worry, exhaustion, shame and despair.
No verdict can give George Floyd back his life,
and no finding can absolve us of his death.

We pray for justice.
Lord, hear our prayer.
God, your justice is not punishment or excuses,
but setting right all that is wrong.
Use this moment, Lord, to bring your justice.
Give us humility to learn from our past,
courage to engage the present,
and resolve to participate with you in creating a world
where all your children have what they need
and none are overlooked or undervalued.
God, your justice comes both through us and despite us.
   May it come through us.

We pray for peace.
Lord, hear our prayer.
God, your peace is not the absence of conflict
or the silencing of pain or anger,
but the tangible harmony of our interdependence.
Use this moment, Lord, to bring your peace.
Turn us toward our essential belonging to you and each other,
belonging that comes from you and cannot be removed by us.
Increase our reverence for each other,
for it is in one another that Christ meets us.
God, your peace comes both through us and despite us.
   May it come through us.

We pray for healing.
Lord, hear our prayer.
God, your healing does not return things to how they were,
it brings things into how they are meant to be.
Use this moment, Lord, to bring your healing.
For the courage of the witnesses, we give you thanks.
For the witness of the courageous, we give you thanks.
For all those through whom your healing comes:
the flower planters and soul tenders,
the music makers and speech givers,
the heart holders and art creators,
the place-sharers and poem weavers,
the child raisers and story cherishers,
and for the neighbors who will continue to neighbor one another –
long after this trial ends, and the cameras pack up, and the media goes home –
we give you thanks, O God.
God, your healing comes both through us and despite us.
   May it come through us.

The nation waits for a verdict,
but the verdict has already been rendered:
We walk by fear and not by love.
We allow injustice, brokenness and despair to rule us.
This world is made in love, claimed for love and moving toward love.
The Holy Spirit’s work of healing is relentless and cannot be stopped.
God’s justice and peace prevail.
So as those who cry out and join in,
we wait.

God’s love comes both through and despite us.
   May it come through us.

We believe. O Lord,
   help our unbelief.


by Kara K. Root, pastor at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis (thank you to Lauren Ng for sharing this litany)

The essay below represents a public health approach, an approach I heartily endorse, to address the epidemic of gun violence that holds our nation in a deadly grip. 

Opinion: Fight gun violence like we fight cancer — one step at a time https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2021/04/20/opinion-fight-gun-violence-like-we-fight-cancer-one-step-at-a-time/

Pastor Carolyn will be leading Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study (reading Isaiah 40) this morning at 10:30 as I will be in an Unconscious Bias Training with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Board of Directors.Ways to Connect


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