Holy Week: Death and Life

easter_cross.fwIt is the middle of Holy Week and with it comes that sad news of the death today of Dr. Paul Martin, President of the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Paul led the school through some difficult times with grace, good humor and a big heart. He will be sorely missed. We will keep his family and the seminary community in our prayers in this challenging time. I will personally miss his good humored teasing and the warmth of his welcome.

Tomorrow night I invite you all to attend a simple soup supper and Maundy Thursday Communion Service in the Parlor. In this service we will extinguish the last of the Tenebrae candles as we anticipate the pervasive darkness of Good Friday. On Friday,  from Noon to 3:00 PM, we will open the Sanctuary for prayer and mediation. We will have resources on which you may reflect as well as contemplative music playing. You may also choose to walk the labyrinth as you recall the events and power of Christ’s passion.

Saturday morning at 10:00 AM we will gather to prepare the Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary for the Easter celebration. Don’t forget to bring blossoms for the flower cross on Sunday. As always, Jan has planned extra music for Easter. We will have several people helping out the choir as well as Daniel Ramirez on saxophone and Daniel Ramirez on cello. I want to alert you that worship will begin at 10:00 AM. The welcome and announcements will not come until later in the service.

The service will begin in the “darkness” of that first early morning when Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb to grieve, only to find the sealing stone rolled away and the grave empty. She was at a loss. She didn’t know what to make of it and rushed off to tell the others what had happened. As we confront the empty tomb we, too, are left to wonder what to make of it all.  What does Easter and Resurrection mean to you? How would you tell the story and to whom?  What have we learned from walking in the darkness that will help us walk in the emerging light of an Easter dawn?

After worship, we will hold our annual Easter Egg hunt for children and brunch for everyone. Please bring finger food to share. Come Sunday morning at 10:00 AM for reflection on and celebration of the new life that is offered in Jesus, the Christ. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us in the joy of this Easter Sunday.

love quiltTogether, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick

This Week at First Baptist (3/23/16)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, March 24, 11:30 AM: Women’s Brunch at Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant, 4261 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited to join in.
  • Thursday, March 24, 6:00 PM: Maundy Thursday Soup supper and communion for the whole family in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Thursday, March 24, 7:30 PM: Church Choir in the Parlor. Join us as we prepare for a joyous Easter Sunday.
  • Friday, March 25: Spire Deadline
  • Friday, March 25, Noon to 3:00 PM: Good Friday. Sanctuary Open for Prayer and Meditation.  Take this opportunity to walk the labyrinth as well.
  • Saturday, March 26, 10:00 AM: Setup for Easter in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Wednesday, March 16, 10:30 AM: Meditation Group at Thelma Parodi’s house. All are welcome.
  • Sunday, March 27: Easter Sunday
    10:00 AM: Worship for the Whole Family
    “Resurrection in the Dark,” John 20:1-18, Rick Mixon preaching. The service will include the annual creation of a flowering cross. Everyone is invited to bring flowers to share in the creation.
    11:15 AM: Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch We will hold an egg hunt for children immediately after the worship service and then gather in the Fellowship Hall for brunch. Please bring finger food to share.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 7:00 PM: Eco-Brainstorming. At the home of Carolyn Shepard, 1161 Granada Avenue, Belmont. A small group think-tank to brainstorm eco-ideas that we can use for April’s upcoming Earth Month and beyond. Let Pastor Gregory know if you are interested in attending.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 10:30 AM: Meditation Group at Thelma Parodi’s house, 543 South El Monte Avenue, Los Altos. All are welcome.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 7:00 pm: “Being Different Together: Experiencing Palo Alto, Perception and Reality.” Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road. This will be an evening focused on whether or not racial bias exists in Palo Alto. Keynote: Dr. Jospeh Brown, Associate Director of Diversity at Stanford; remarks from city council members; panel moderated by Pastor Kaloma Smith, University AME Zion Church.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Sunday, April 3- Second Sunday in Easter
    10:00 AM: Worship for the Whole Family with Communion
    “Easter Ecology,” John 20:19-31, Gregory Stevens preaching.

    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation: “Learning to Love Creation,” a four-part series. This Sunday will feature Greg Griffey sharing about his love for the land and its spiritual roots.

Palm Sunday to Easter

This Sunday will be filled with all the drama of the Passion of the Christ as we look forward to Holy Week. We will begin with the traditional procession of palms and end at the foot of the cross. It is a lot to cover in one service but it is not good for us to skip directly from Palm Sunday to Easter without remembering the pain and struggle of the week between. The service will be for the whole family as we remember together.

In Adult Spiritual formation we will continue our exploration of “Who Jesus Was,” following the video series Saving Jesus Redux. This material has generated lively and meaningful discussion. We’d love to have you be part of it if you aren’t already.

The other events of Holy Week include a simple soup supper on Maundy Thursday followed by communion around the tables and extinguishing the last of the Tenebrae candles. Our tradition on Good Friday is to open the sanctuary from Noon to 3:00 PM with recorded music and written resources for contemplation. It may also be a good day to walk our labyrinth. We will gather at 10:00 AM on Saturday to set up for Easter service and brunch. Your assistance would be much appreciated. Then, of course, Easter Sunday will be a celebration of the Resurrection with extra music and the creation of the flower cross.

Join us Sunday at 10:00 AM for worship, study and the sharing of community. Bring someone along share in the experiences of the day.

Together, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick

This Week at First Baptist (3/9/16)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Wednesday, March 16, 8:30 AM: Men’s Breakfast at Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield, Palo Alto. All the men from our Church family are welcome.
  • Wednesday, March 16, 10:30 AM: Meditation Group at Thelma Parodi’s house. All are welcome.
  • Wednesday, March 16, 12:00 Noon: Baptists Lunching Together, featuring Allison Tanner and Louann Roberts reporting on the “Space for Grace” conference last November in Los Angeles. Grand Lake Gardens, 401 Santa Clara Avenue, Oakland. $10.00 for lunch. RSVP to Joan Thatcher, (510) 350-7008, by February 15.
  • Thursday, March 17, 1:00 PM: Senior Connections Book Group Our book is Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty MD. Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. Brown Bag Lunch (beverage will be provided).
  • Thursday, March 17, 7:30 PM: Church Choir in the Parlor. Join us as we prepare for a joyous Easter Sunday.
  • Sunday, March 20: Palm/Passion Sunday
    10:00 AM: Worship for the Whole Family:

    “Twilight Zone,” Luke 19:28-40, Rick Mixon preaching.
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation:
    Saving Jesus Redux: Who Was Jesus? We will continue our discussion of this video series.
  • Tuesday, March 22, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Thursday, March 24, 11:30 AM: Women’s Brunch at Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant, 4261 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited to join in.
  • Thursday, March 24, 6:00 PM: Maundy Thursday Soup supper and communion for the whole family in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Friday, March 25: Spire Deadline
  • Saturday, March 26, 10:00 AM: Setup for Easter in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Sunday, March 27: Easter Sunday
    10:00 AM: Worship for the Whole Family
    “Resurrection in the Dark,” John 20:1-18, Rick Mixon preaching. The service will include the annual creation of a flowering cross. Everyone is invited to bring flowers to share in the creation.
    11:15 AM: Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch We will hold an egg hunt for children immediately after the worship service and then gather in the Fellowship Hall for brunch. Please bring finger food to share.

Holy Week is coming…

LentThanks to Greg Griffey for bringing the Word last Sunday. I very much appreciated his insight into the “Conversion of Paul” story and the importance of connecting to the “other.” This Sunday we will return to a story from Genesis. This ancient tale of Abram bargaining with God involves a time when falls into a sort of terrifying asleep and yet, in the darkness, he is reassured by God that God is with him and will keep the covenant they have made.

Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter are rapidly approaching. March 20 we will have a Palm/Passion service, beginning with a procession of palms, and ending at the foot of the cross. Maundy Thursday we will have a simple soup supper and Communion around the tables. Friday the Sanctuary will be open from 12 noon to 3:00 with recorded music and reflective reading available. You might even walk the Labyrinth as you recall the events and significance of that ancient Friday when Christ was crucified. Easter will begin in quiet and darkness as it must have been on the first Easter morning as Mary made her way to the tomb. Of course there will be plenty of music and celebration of the Resurrection, and we will hold our annual brunch in the Fellowship Hall afterwards with all of us bringing finger food to share. I look forward to sharing this sacred season with you.

In Adult Spiritual Formation this Sunday, we will pick up where we left off in the video series, Saving Jesus Redux: Who Was Jesus? This well-done video series has generated good questions and lively discussion among those who gather for our Sunday class. Everyone is invited to join in.

Join us Sunday at 10:00 AM for worship, study and the sharing of community. Bring someone along share in the experiences of the day.

Together, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick

This Week at First Baptist (3/25/15)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, March 26, 10:00 am: Women’s Brunch at Corner Bakery Cafe, 3375 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited to join.
  • Thursday, March 26, 7:30 pm: Choir Practice in the Parlor. New voices are always welcome to join.
  • Friday, March 27, 5:30 pm: Forum with Youth. In light of recent suicides and need for youth to be supported, we’ll discuss: Social academic pressure, Inclusion and friendship, Dealing with stress, Grieving and dealing with loss, Defeating stigma. Mitchell Park Community Center. For more information, contact Dona Smith-Powers donamaysp@sbcglobal.net.
  • Sunday, March 29, 10:00 AM:
    Worship and Sunday School for Children & Youth:

    Alive in a Global Uprising: Peace March,” Pastor Rick preaching.
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation:  Pastor Rick leading, an extension of our earlier discussions about nonviolence and peacemaking. We will be using Walter Wink’s, The Powers that Be: Theology for a New Millennium, as a resource.
  • Sunday, March 29, 4:00 pm: Sine Nomine Concert: Sine Nomine, an Acapella Chamber Choir presents “Music for Friends” at Transfiguration Episcopal Church, 3900 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo. Jan Gunderson is the conductor.
  • Tuesday, March 31, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at the Terraces of Los Altos. We will meet at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Thursday, April 2, 6:00 pm: Maundy Thursday simple supper and communion in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Friday, April 3, Noon – 3:00 pm: Good Friday: Sanctuary open for prayer and meditation. Walk the labyrinth in the Patio.
  • Saturday, April 4, 10:00 AM: Set up for Easter brunch in the Fellowship Hall. Please help our Congregational Life Task Team prepare for this festive event.
  • Sunday April 5: Easter Sunday
    10:00 AM: Worship for the whole family:
    “Alive in a Global Uprising: The Uprising Begins,” Pastor Rick preaching.
    11:15 AM Easter Egg Hunt for children.
    11:30 AM Easter Brunch in the Fellowship Hall.

Palm Sunday and Youth

Pontius Omar Carries the World
Pontius Omar Carries the World

The Lenten Season draws to a close as we remember the witness, arrest, trial and execution of Jesus. We do this in preparation for and in anticipation of Easter Sunday and the promise of Resurrection. Last Sunday we had some fun with the Palm Sunday end of our service. Thanks to Pastor Tripp, Doug, Melanie, Jan and the choir and our children and youth for their contributions to the service.

The rest of the service, in which we read aloud long passages of Matthew’s Passion account, I found very moving. It’s one thing to sit down and read those verses on your own, in silence. It is quite different to hear them read aloud with feeling and a sense of the great drama they contain. I understand why some traditions make a point of reading an entire Passion story annually in Lenten worship.

 

Jesus (Clara) Leads the Procession
Jesus (Clara) Leads the Procession

Thursday we will hold our annual Maundy Thursday supper and service. The meal will be simple as will be the service as we celebrate Communion around the

tables where we eat. Friday the Sanctuary will be open from noon to 3:00 PM, the traditional hours of the Crucifixion. You are invited to make use of the space for prayer and meditation. There will be some written resource available to guide you. There will also music playing softly. In addition, you are invited to make use of our new labyrinth as another form of prayer and contemplation. We will have a guide to using the labyrinth available as well.

Sunday we will celebrate the Resurrection with music and the spoken word. As we have done the past couple of years, we are inviting anyone who wants to bring cut flowers (one or many) to place on the flower cross at the beginning of the service.   In addition, this year we are inviting everyone to bring some nonperishable food items to share with the hungry of our community. This is will be the culminating, corporate act of our Lenten emphasis on hunger. There will be a basket to collect the items in the Sanctuary and we will bless them before sending them off to EHP or one of the food pantries.

Bring some folks with you to share in worship, the Easter Egg Hunt for children and the best brunch in Palo Alto. See you Sunday at 10 AM.

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.
Pastor Rick            

Dan Carries the Cross
Dan Carries the Cross