Praying with the People

Our Joys and Concerns for this week include:

  • Birthday Joys: Lois Ville (May 17), Melanie Ramirez (May 21)
  • For mothers on Mother’s Day
  • Kathy Gillam for lovely baby shower for Julia and Micah with 20 friends who brought favorite children’s books
  • Melanie Ramirez for the opportunity to volunteer with Clara at the “kitten nursery” on Sunday mornings; for a good time at the Stanford Pow Wow
  • For Thelma Tuttle who will be having gall bladder surgery soon
  • For Eileen Conover who is at home recovering from hip surgery
  • For Ron Fredlund who fell and scraped his head
  • Chip Clark for Charlie who was ill with a virus
  • For Andy Kille who is dealing with terminal cancer
  • For our neighbors that we may find ways to live peacefully with them
  • For Don, Dustin, and Dylan Ha as they deal with the difficulties of serious water damage to their home
  • For all the good work of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America/Bautistas por la paz

 

Things That Make for Peace: Empathy and Economic Equity

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, May 13, 2018

Text: Mark 10:17-31 (The Message)

Things that make for peace. I asked last Sunday. Alan said “empathy” and Kathy said “economic equity.” Maybe I should have said, “Great. You preach next week.” But since it’s my job, let’s see what I can do. The lectionary texts for today were no help, (actually, they weren’t very inspiring at all,) so I sat down to try to conjure up a text that dealt with peace and empathy. What first popped into my head was this tale of Jesus and the one who had great wealth. Notice that the gospel of Mark gives neither gender or age to the wealthy one. No “rich, young ruler” here. Some commentators suggest this is so we can more easily put ourselves in his place. (The Greek pronoun is masculine,)

Here we have the very definition of empathy – “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Let’s put aside any empathy we have for this wealthy one for the moment and see how empathy does and does not play out generally in this story. To begin with, I think there is great empathy between Jesus and the wealthy one. The wealthy one has detected something in Jesus that inspires him to come running, to kneel in great reverence, and to ask the question that’s burning in his heart, sure that Jesus has the answer. His empathy may not be complete, especially his understanding of what Jesus is all about, but his desire to see, understand, and share is deep and it is sincere.

Continue reading Things That Make for Peace: Empathy and Economic Equity

Praying with the People

Our Joys and Concerns for this week include:

  • Birthday Joys: Pamela Sullivan (May 15)
  • For Eileen Conover who is at home recovering from hip surgery
  • For Andy Kille in who found out this week his cancer treatment is not working
  • For our neighbors that we may find ways to live peacefully with them
  • For Don, Dustin, and Dylan Ha as they deal with the difficulties of serious water damage to their home
  • For all the good work of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America/Bautistas por la paz

Things That Make For Peace

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Text: John 15:9-17 (The Message)
9-10 “I’ve loved you the way God has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept God’s commands and made myself at home in God’s love.

11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from God.

16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask God in relation to me, God gives you.

17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.

“I used to think there was something in me that was too precious to run the risk of mixing with ugly, ordinary things – a kind of mystical dream of something that might grow into something very beautiful, if I kept my mind up in the clouds enough and did not allow it to be soiled. I can’t explain it, but it was purely selfish. And now I know that life is clean, dirty, ugly beautiful, wonderful, sordid – and above all love. Just fancy, I even used to think I was rather good at that. I used to think being nice to people and feeling nice was loving people, but it isn’t, it isn’t. Love is the most immense unselfishness and it’s so big I never touched it.”
Florence Allshorn, in J. H. Oldham, Florence Allshorn and the Story of St. Julian’s

The day broke, bright and clear. Maybe it was beautiful spring day like today. Jesus and his followers had made it to the edge of the glorious old city. They could see it, shimmering in the distance, its magnificence crowned by Herod’s Temple, rising atop Mt. Zion. Today was the day they would enter the city itself, but not as they might have on any other day. Today would be special. Continue reading Things That Make For Peace

A Resurrection People

A sermon preached by
Gregory Stevens
First Baptist Church of Palo Alto
Sunday, 29 April 2018
Text: John 15:1-8

“Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ’s message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology.” – James Cone (1936-2018)

If you are a follower of Jesus it seems pretty obvious that his calling on our lives is to be good people, to bear juicy fruit, and to live as if we were an extension of his life and work.

Christ is the Vine, we are the branches.

But what makes for a good and sturdy branch, one that can bear juicy fruit?

Is it enough to simply be nice to the person bagging our groceries? Did Jesus get executed for calling us to be friendlier to our coffee barista? Can the resurrection really be boiled down to mere neighborliness?

I don’t think the symbol of the Christian movement would have been a political prisoners execution, the cross, if God was calling us to niceness.

When the early church is forming in the Luke-Acts narrative we read that the Spirit falls on Pentecost, the whole room shakes, and everyone begins to speak in each other’s native tongue, united in their diversity they share their money and property, they distributed their goods as different needs came up: the sick were healed, the hungry fed, the outcaste welcomed, and the naked clothed.

Continue reading A Resurrection People

Praying With the People

Our Joys and Concerns for this week include:

  • Birthday Joys: Wai Hon Lee and Ruth Owen (April 29)
  • Kathy Gillam for her daughter, Julia, who will soon go on maternity leave from teaching middle school in Fremont
  • Laurie Cudworth and Dan who are expecting their first grandchild – “It’s a girl!”; and then a week in Palm Springs
  • Melanie Ramirez for her brother, Darren, on his birthday last Monday
  • For Ron Fredlund and the family friends of Mary Martin who died on Monday
  • Carolyn Shepard for Steven who has started a new job; for his friend who is homeless
  • For Eileen Conover as she prepares for hip surgery on Thursday, April 28
  • For the people of Nicaragua with the unrest there
  • For our neighbors that we may find ways to live peacefully with them
  • For Don, Dustin, and Dylan Ha as they deal with the difficulties of serious water damage to their home
  • Remembering the Hunwicks as we raise money for scholarships at ABSW and for the good work of the school

Listening to the Earth

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Text: Psalm 100; Job 12:7-10; 19:25-27; from 38 and 39

“Ask the animals.” That was the original title of this sermon. “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.” Job uses these words to challenge the wisdom of his so-called friends. But in the end, Job, his friends, and we ourselves might do well to ask the animals, to consult creation, to listen to the earth to hear what they might have to tell us, to discern if we might be missing some message from the Holy One. If nothing else, it could be an important exercise in the practice of humility.

As Job asks his friends, “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Holy One has done this? In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” Maybe he would be better off asking “Who DOES know that the hand of the Lord has done this? That “In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” “Know that the Holy One is God; it is God who has made us and not we ourselves,” the psalmist sings. If we really understood this, believed this, practiced this, how might our lives and the life of the planet be different? Continue reading Listening to the Earth