Midweek Message

October 18, 2011

Jim Hopkins

October 18, 2011

As we pass the halfway mark of our month-long consideration of Radical Hospitality I hope we are getting a sense of the implications of what a commitment to this expression of the gospel means. It is both a joyous commitment and a risky venture. It means meeting new friends and letting go of long held understandings. There are those who will dismiss radical hospitality as a fad which will not last.  There are others who will see it as an expression of hope for all creation.  Clearly, it is my understanding that radical hospitality is about hope for all creation.  A commitment to seeing ourselves, and others, as welcome guests in God’s world is a pathway to the peace that Jesus promises, a peace that passes understanding.
On October 23 Father Aiden McAleenan the pastor of St. Columba’s Church on San Pablo Avenue will be with us.  We will both preach short sermons on Mattew 16: 13-20 in which Jesus says to Peter “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
Catholics and Protestants have traditionally interpreted the words of Jesus very differently. Catholics have emphasized the person of Peter and the authority given to him.  They see Jesus as commissioning Peter as the first head of the church and they see this commissioning as Jesus establishment of the papacy.
Protestants, on the other hand, have emphasized the faith of Peter, a faith which led him to confess of Jesus “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” While Peter’s faith was far from complete it did lead him to place his ultimate trust in Jesus.  Protestants have argued that it is not Peter the person but the faith he represents that Jesus commends as the foundation of the church.
I am not sure how Father Aiden will interpret this passage.  I am still working on what I will say.  I did have a very interesting conversation at Aaron and Teresa’s engagement party with a man named Peter.  He talked about how his name gave him strength, guidance and an identity to grow into.  Perhaps I will talk about the faith journey Peter represents, the journey from Simon son of Jonah to Dependable Rock.
Regardless of the specifics of our sermons, our worship and Forum that follows, will be an opportunity to remember that Catholics and Protestants together are the church which Jesus the Christ called into being, the church which embodies the call to radical hospitality.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Cecil White and Ruben Artery on the death of Cecil’s sister
  • Debra Dizen for her daughter
  • Abe Cirimele, recuperating from surgery
  • Bette Pancoe for friend Pat
  • Helen Harrison for Karen Casey
  • The people of Thailand and Southeast Asia in the face of continuing floods (There is widespread flooding in Central America as well.)
  • The Coptic Christians of Egypt and their persecutors
  • Our Sunday School teachers, students and volunteers
  • Carol and Steve Leichter
  • Michael Sumrall, surgery on Tuesday
  • Alean Saunders-Coffey on the death of her aunt
  • Thanksgiving with Mary Karne that Mildred is feeling better
  • Susan Joachim
  • Bonnie Sato
  • Edna Dorenzo
  • Joan Thatcher
  • George and Sylvia Lee for their son Victor
  • Wally Bryen, a challenging time in his ministry
  • The American Baptist family as it mourns the death of The Reverend Eugene Wright
  • Barbara Bowman for her father
  • Sandra Dunn her her father
  • Joan Patten for her friend John
  • The Occupy Wall Street movement
  • Aries Broadnax
  • Brenda McCarthy for Erma and Kathy
  • Lelia Sarratt for her family and for her business
  • Jan Scott
  • Kay Baxter for Vee, Jamie, Judy and Stacey
  • Julie and Dave Milcoff as they dedicate their son, Henry Joseph Hodge Milcoff


Disaster Preparedness – As  we commemorate the 22nd Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the 20th Anniversary of the Oakland Hills Fire it is a good time to remember that disaster preparedness is the responsibility of every household, every neighborhood and every congregation.  When a disaster strikes the the first line of assistance is likely to be neighbors helping neighbors.
New Members Needed, Wanted and Invited – If you have been looking for a good way to connect with the ministry of LABC please attend the Hunger Task Force meeting this Sunday at 12:30 in the Family Room.  Lunch will be provided.
Connecting with Our Community – Another good way to connect with the LABC Community and help out in important ways is to join in the All Church Workday this Saturday from 9-12.