Peace Now! (5/29/16)

candle and globeA sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, May 29, 2016

Text: Micah 4:1-5; Luke 6:26-37; Romans 12:9-21 (The Message)

Are you tired of talking about peace? It’s been a month now. Are we any closer to achieving peace than we were when we started? People are still warring on a variety of fronts. Ancient enmity keeps people glaring at each other across chasms of hatred or pretending they are safe behind walls that separate. Sexism, homo-hated, and racism are all still rampant. The gulf widens daily between the haves and have nots. People are fed up with governments atrophied over the silliest self-absorption of special interest groups and childish grabs for power by politicians of every persuasion.

We have looked at visions of the Holy Mountain and the Beloved Community where peace is promised. We have heard Jesus and Paul and the prophets proclaim peace as a way of life. We have considered the lives of those who have committed themselves to peacemaking. But it is also true that we aren’t there yet, that we haven’t lived up to our high calling, that we haven’t really given ourselves to peacemaking. At least, it doesn’t appear that much, if anything, has changed as we come to the fifth Sunday in a row in which we’ve tried to say, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

It makes me think of Jeremiah, that prophet of weeping and woe, who stands in the city square and cries out, “Thus says God of hosts: Glean thoroughly as a vine the remnant of Israel; like a grape-gatherer, pass your hand again over its branches. To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? See, their ears are closed, they cannot listen. The word of God is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. But I am full of the wrath of God; I am weary of holding it in. Pour it out on the children in the street, and on the gatherings of young men as well; both husband and wife shall be taken, the old folk and the very aged. Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together; for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land, says God. For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not ashamed, they did not know how to blush. Therefore, they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says God. Thus says God: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it.” Also I raised up sentinels for you: “Give heed to the sound of the trumpet!” But they said, “We will not give heed” (Jeremiah 6:9-17).

Well there’s a gloomy picture from the passionate prophet. I don’t mean to draw a direct parallel between our own situation and Jeremiah’s words to an ancient people threatened with imminent assault from a great power, destruction of their land and way of life and exile to a strange place. For one thing, we are situated in the midst of the most powerful nation on earth. Nor do we live in a theocracy in which we believe that God directly pulls the strings that determine our fate or the fate of the world. Oh, I know we make a nominal claim to being a Christian nation, but, really, do we live our lives or conduct the affairs of state as if we were in covenant with God? This is not the Promised Land nor do we inhabit the shining city set on a hill.

Still there is truth for us in this ancient word. When peace and justice are discussed, how many close their ears, refusing to listen? How often is God’s word of compassion and care, of steadfast love and mercy scorned? It sounds as if Jeremiah is “mad as hell” and “not going to take it anymore.” Do we ever feel like that? Whether it’s God’s wrath or Jeremiah’s own disgust with his recalcitrant people, the threats are ominous. Neither the young nor the old is spared; nor is their property.

What’s the problem as the prophet sees it? “… from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not ashamed, they did not know how to blush.” Am I wrong in thinking Jeremiah’s indictment might speak to us, might say something about us, especially in the current election cycle?

You know I’m not going to argue that God is out to get us or that God wants to punish us for our wickedness. That may be Jeremiah’s view but I believe that the tragedies of daily life are largely our own doing. If there is “punishment,” it will be the inevitable consequence of the choices we make. In time we will reap what we sow. I think the prophet is on to something when he says, “Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” The question is whether or not we will heed the warning walk in God’s good way.

OK, I will confess that I’m playing a bit of a game here. I didn’t really expect much change in a month’s worth of focusing on peace. Maybe the problem is I should have expected more. But we’ve made a start and, as with last month’s focus on love of the earth and creation care, this is not the last time we will consider peace. I do believe that the practice of peacemaking is fundamental to our Christian identity, especially when we think of peace as shalom, which includes harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, tranquility, welfare, and well-being.

In a book entitled, The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right, Lisa Sharon Harper writes, “Shalom is what God declared. Shalom is what the Kingdom of God looks like. Shalom is when all people have enough. It’s when families are healed. It’s when churches, schools, and public policies protect human dignity. Shalom is when the image of God is recognized in every single human. Shalom is our calling as followers of Jesus’ gospel. It is the vision God set forth in the Garden and the restoration God desires for every relationship” (Quoted by Linda Bergeon in the FCBC Newsletter, May 26, 2016). That does sound like good news if we could just play our part in making it real.

God’s good way, the way of shalom – do we throw up our hands in frustration and despair because it is not current reality or do we give ourselves more ardently to making peace now? All of our readings from this morning lead toward peace, the shalom of God’s Beloved Community. Do we believe it is possible or do we cry “peace, peace when there is no peace” and thereby thwart healing the wounds of God’s people and all creation?

Like Isaiah and Jeremiah, Micah pauses in the midst of his hard word to envision a world in which instruments of war will be transformed to tools for peace and people will study war no more, a time in which every single human being, no exception, will be free to sit under their own vine and fig tree, utterly unafraid.

Jesus encourages his followers to “love your enemies” and “do good to those who hate you.” The irony of this wisdom is that it is impossible to hold as enemy another whom you hold in love. As the poet, Emily Dickinson, with her own wisdom, wrote:

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

“The little toil of love…was large enough…” Could we make the same claim for ourselves? “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it,” Paul says to the church in Rome. There is the challenge. How do we ensure that love lives at the center of who we are? The first week Jieun Lee played her violin for us and I shared that she was on her way to play at Carnegie Hall, I told that joke about how one gets to Carnegie Hall. When the young tourist asks the old musician how to get to Carnegie Hall, the response is “Practice!” I know it’s a tired old joke, but isn’t there also wisdom in it? How do you establish love at the center of who you are?  How do you learn to love your enemy and do good to those who hate you? How do you internalize the Golden Rule? Practice, friends, practice. I know of no other way. And isn’t that a sort of peace now? Practice it as best you can. Live as if it was really so in your daily life.

Paul exhorts the Roman church to just such practice. “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.  Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Holy One, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.  Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.  Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do… if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise your enemy with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” “Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

I can hear you. Honestly, I can hear me. This is hard work. I don’t know if I can live into it, loving from the center of my being and practicing the things that make for peace. The issues of peace and justice are so much larger than I. I don’t even know where to begin. Well, we can start with the ballot we cast next Tuesday and ask ourselves to be cognizant of concerns for peace and justice, compassion and love, as we mark our ballots. We might even pray over them. We can lobby our leaders for peace now and work to elect leaders who are committed to peace and justice. Then we can practice the things that make for peace in our lives now – at home, at school, at work, at play, as we walk the streets and encounter every aspect of God’s creation. We really can.

I want to close by sharing a little story from our friend Greg Griffey. It is both simple and counterintuitive, unless you’re actively trying to let love flow from the center of your being and practice the things that make for peace. Greg writes:

My neighbor in the waiting area at Bubbles Car Wash: “Donald Trump will become President because he’s not afraid to say what’s in his mind! People want that!”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Neighbor: “Like when he called Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas. He rises above all that political correctness bull that we’re being fed and calls it like he sees it!”

Me: “It feels to me that name calling relieves us from the vulnerability of hard conversations by keeping us ‘above’ the other person.

Neighbor: “I guess you’re a politically correct liberal.”

Me: “I try to be kind and understanding of others, including you. Tell me more about your hopes for our country.”

Neighbor: “I want my kids to be safe and have opportunities.”

Me: “You love your kids.”

Neighbor: “Yep! And you?”

Me: “I don’t have kids, but I have a husband and a mom and dad back home. I worry about them every day. I want them to be safe and to have opportunities, too.”

Neighbor: “Looks like we have something in common.”

Me: “We both love our families and we’ve both judged each other today.”

Neighbor: “I guess you like Bernie?”

Me: “I like Bernie. I also believe that real hope doesn’t come from Bernie. It comes from you and me when we can enter into real relationship and know that we each speak from a place of integrity.”

Car Attendant: “Toyota Yaris!”

Me: “That’s my car. I’m Greg, by the way.”

Neighbor: “I’m David. Pleased to meet you, Greg.”

Me: “Pleased to meet you, too, David. Best to your kids!”

We shake hands. I slip the attendant a tip and wonder about his hopes, too. Then I wonder how he affords to live in the Bay Area on a car wash attendant’s wage. I get in my car and drive off, haunted by it all.

There are many places where this interchange might have taken a different, more hostile turn. Greg took a chance, made himself vulnerable, and something miraculous happened. A small miracle, yes, but a miracle none the less – a miracle of shalom, a miracle of peace-making. I’m not nominating Greg for sainthood just yet, but how often might we make this sort of difference in a simple yet challenging human interaction? “Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Find shalom, well-being for your loved ones and your neighbors and, yes, your enemies. Peace now. Is it possible? You tell me. Amen.

Note from Pastor Rick (6/1/2016)

James Poe, violinLast Sunday we continued “violin month,” as we listened to the beautiful playing of James Poe. James will play for us again on June 19 before heading off to New York City for seven weeks of study with Itzhak Perlman. We also concluded Peace Month with a focus on “Peace Now!” and a spirited discussion of Daniel Shapiro’s Negotiating the Nonnegotiable.

This month as we center on our own children and youth, celebrating graduations and the end of the school year, and raising funds for the Granholm Scholarship Fund, our theme will be “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss.” The beloved children’s author and illustrator, Theodore Seuss Geisel, dispensed wit and wisdom for children of all ages, from one to 100. Each Sunday we will focus on one or more of his works, along with the Ancient Word to see what together they might teach us as people of faith.

This Sunday is Youth Sunday. Pastor Gregory, along with our children and youth, will be leading us in worship. The book they’ve chosen is the classic graduation gift, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. We will also celebrate Communion. Adult Spiritual Formation is on hiatus for the summer. Sunday will be our bi-monthly Lunch Bunch,

June 12 we will begin patio hour and June 19 we will hold our first cook out of the summer in honor of Father’s Day. If you’d be willing to host Patio Hour or help with the cook out, please sign up on the sheet in the Entryway. Also, on June 12, Grace Baptist Church in San Jose will be hosting the annual spring gathering of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association. The theme is “Communications in the Church.” There will be worship at 2:30 PM, followed by a panel on which I am participating, ending with dinner. Registration forms are available in the Entryway and office, or you can let me know if you’d like to attend. Registration deadline is Monday, June 6.

Join us for any of these opportunities beginning with Sunday at 10:00 AM. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us on the journey.

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

Pastor Rick

 

Mission Offering for May: Baptist Peace Fellowship (6/1/16)

Blessed are the PeacemakersOur May Special Mission Offering is for the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA) web site has this to say about the organization: “What comes to mind when you hear the word Baptist? Do you think peacemaker? How about folks who care for the poor, resist racial discrimination, speak out about worldwide injustices and care for the environment? If that is not your vision of Baptist, then we invite you to stay a while, find out more about us and learn what the word Baptist means around here. The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America works to gather, equip and mobilize Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice.

For further information, see the website at bpfna.org. FBCPA is a charter member congregation of BPFNA. We urge to you give generously. To date we have received $443 toward our goal of $500.

Note from Pastor Rick (5/25/2016)

love quiltThanks to Geoff Browning, UCCM campus minister, for leading our Adult Spiritual Formation last Sunday.  It was good to brought up to date on UCCM program and activities, including their trip to Nicaragua last March. Both Pastor Gregory and Charlotte Jackson are currently serving on the UCCM board.

I had a good time as respondent to the annual Drexler Lecture at the American Baptist Seminary of the West last week. I got to provide transportation for the speaker, J. Brent Walker, the retiring Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty. It was great to get hear Brent’s update from the BJC and the state of religious liberty in the USA, and to get better acquainted with this fine champion of Baptist principles. Then, on Saturday I attended the ABSW commencement ceremony at the historic First Baptist Church of Oakland. The speaker was my old friend, Margaret Cowden, former treasurer of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. I enjoyed seeing her and also watching my students from last spring receive their diplomas and awards.

Worship this week will focus on “Peace Now”. The texts from Micah, Luke and Romans are all familiar passages pertaining to peace. Micah urges us to study war no more. In Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain,” Jesus tells us we must love our enemies. Paul, writing to the church at Rome, says, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Each text treats the challenges and rewards of committing ourselves to making peace now. We’ll close the service by singing, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

In Adult Spiritual Formation we will consider a new book by Dan Shapiro, founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program. I heard Dan interviewed on public radio and was impressed with his understanding and vision. The book, Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts, is a thoughtful and practical guide to helping us find harmony and reconciliation, whether at home, church or on the global stage.

Join us for these opportunities Sunday, starting at 10:00 AM. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us as we explore the things that make for peace.

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

Pastor Rick

 

Mission Offering for May: Baptist Peace Fellowship (5/25/16)

Blessed are the PeacemakersOur May Special Mission Offering is for the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA) web site has this to say about the organization: “What comes to mind when you hear the word Baptist? Do you think peacemaker? How about folks who care for the poor, resist racial discrimination, speak out about worldwide injustices and care for the environment? If that is not your vision of Baptist, then we invite you to stay a while, find out more about us and learn what the word Baptist means around here. The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America works to gather, equip and mobilize Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice.

For further information, see the website at bpfna.org. FBCPA is a charter member congregation of BPFNA. We urge to you give generously. To date we have received $393 toward our goal of $500.

Dressed for Success

Rev. Rick MixonA sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Text: Isaiah 10:33-11:9 (The Message); Luke 19:41-44; Ephesians 6:10-18

“Clothes make the man.” So observed the pundit, Mark Twain. We dress for success to quote a cliché. But, what does that mean for people of faith gathered on a Sunday morning in May in the middle of “Peace Month”? How does what we wear relate to the things that make for peace?

It has not escaped my attention that I am virtually the only one here who wears a jacket and tie to church any more. This is not a judgment on anyone, just an observation. Fashion changes over time and the truth is that I am something of an anachronism. They still sell suits and ties and dress shirts at Macy’s so I imagine there are places where they are worn. Sometimes it must still be important to dress for success. There are places and situations where what you wear matters.

I know I am my mother’s child when it comes to dressing, especially for church. By the end of her life she had closets full of beautiful clothes, most of which were reserved for special occasions. And, when I was growing up there was no more special occasion than Sunday morning. We had our “Sunday best” and those clothes were saved for that day. Washed, ironed, and polished, we would head out the door spotless and spiffy. In her worldview, you saved your best for the Lord, including what you wore to the Lord’s House. I think she had a point. How we adorn ourselves does affect our attitude, how we feel, and how we carry ourselves.

Writer Gay Talese has opined, “Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self, and helps define me as a man to whom details matter.” That 19th century dispenser of witty wisdom, Oscar Wilde, once quipped that “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.” But even the great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed that “Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.” Actually, the entire Mark Twain quotation is: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” I suppose the naked folk who sometimes lounge at the intersection of Market and Castro Streets in San Francisco can capture your attention, but they have little long term affect on social structure.

Well, what do you think of when you hear the phrase “dress for success”? Is there a connection between fashion and faith? I started to think about this Tuesday in Bible study when Thelma Parodi pointed out that The Message paraphrase of Isaiah 11:5 reads, “Each morning God will pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.” Thelma thought, and I agree, that this is a charming, captivating image.  For that same verse, the New Revised Standard Version reads, “Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.” The reference is not directly to God but to the “shoot” that grows from “Jesse’s stump,” the one whom later tradition identified as the Messiah, and whom we have associated with Jesus.

It is this One from God (or who is God in human form) who comes to redeem creation, to guide us up the Holy Mountain, to lead us to our home in God’s Beloved Community. What does he wear? How does he dress for success? He straps on righteousness and buckles up faithfulness. He comes ready to work on the things that make for peace. Isaiah proclaims, “The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over the Promised One, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding. The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.” Here is one dressed and ready for what must be done for peace to prevail.

Now this passage links nicely, at least in mind, to what Paul has to say to the church in Ephesus about being dressed and ready for the work they have to do. Except, of course, this passage from Paul is full of military imagery – hardly what you’d turn to to talk about the things that make for peace. Armor is not usually the peacemaker’s outfit of choice. I know we sometimes use the language of peace euphemistically to describe various weapons, soldiers, and military operations, but use of language doesn’t always make it so.

I’m sure the armor imagery spoke to that early Ephesian church in a place and time in which soldiers in military attire were a common sight. They would have had a clear picture of the Roman soldier in his wide leather belt, emblazoned breast plate, sturdy sandals or boots, protective helmet, carrying his sword or spear and shield. I imagine it was a more intimidating presence than the one we carry from contemporary costume dramas. These guys were not actors, they meant business.

Ironically, they were dressed to bring about peace – the great Roman Peace or Pax Romana. This was, indeed, a sort of peace – enforced peace that involved the suppression of freedom, threats or the practice of violence when needed, control and oppression of whole populations, the well-being of the few at the expense of the many. This was not the vision of God’s Holy Mountain or Beloved Community. This was not the goal of the Promised One, the Prince of Peace, to whom the Ephesian Christians pledged allegiance. While they endured the Roman Peace, Paul urged them to prepare for the peace that passes understanding. Turning the military imagery on its head, he speaks of “the belt of truth…the breastplate of righteousness…shoes for…whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace…the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one…the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

I suppose the Ephesians might have been shocked or amused at Paul’s use of this image of their oppressors to make his point about being faithful to Christ, and to God’s high calling. But then, again, maybe it was empowering, the way “Putting on a beautifully designed suit [might]elevate the spirit, extol [one’s]sense of self, and help define [one] as a [person]to whom details matter” or “Being perfectly well-dressed [could] give one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.” It is a kind of dressing for success – for the success of shalom and Beloved Community. Following the practice of the Promised One, put on your “sturdy work clothes and boots” and get busy.

Maybe there are times when it is still appropriate to put on your Sunday best and to go up to God’s house to sing and pray in praise and celebration. I hope so. People still dress up to go out occasionally and wear party outfits, don’t they? We still like to watch the glamor and glitz on the various red carpets and the fashion shows on reality television. “A well-tied tie” may not be “the first serious step in life,” but there may be satisfaction in that, or however you choose to adorn yourself to feel good and beautiful and express joy in living. That is indeed a form of success, worthy of investment. Put on your red dress or sweater and celebrate the Spirit of life as we did last Sunday. Get out your tux and your formal, your high heeled sneakers, your brightest lipstick, your pink feather boa, your gaudiest bow tie, your dress up sweatshirt, and kick up your heels now and then.

But don’t forget the things that make for peace. Don’t leave Jesus sitting on the side of the hill weeping over us because we didn’t know or see or embrace the things that make for peace. Otherwise we run the risk of sowing the seeds of our own destruction – the emptiness of our good times, the felling of our great “trees” of state, the toppling of our temples, the crumbling of our cities, and the devastation of creation.

When we dress for success, we must be certain to put on clothes appropriate to the work at hand. We don’t need the image of armor to see that, if we want the things that make for peace, our sturdy work clothes and boots are righteousness or right-living, faithfulness to the living presence of God, the truth that sets us free, the salvation or sense of wholeness which the gospel promises, and the Spirit who provides wisdom and understanding, direction and strength, knowledge and fear or awe of God.

Dressed like that what other work could we do but feed the hungry, bring water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit prisoners – the very things that make for peace? I guarantee you Jesus won’t be sitting on the hillside weeping. He’ll be right there working with us in his own sturdy work clothes and boots, dressed for success, the success of establishing God’s Holy Mountain, God’s Beloved Community, right here and right now. What outfits do you have hanging in your closets, ready to wear?

Note from Pastor Rick

Tomorrow evening the American Baptist Seminary of the West will present its annual Drexler lecture. This year the speaker is J. Brent Walker, the retiring Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty. This historic organization is supported by several Baptist groups and is a champion of real religious liberty in the USA, including the proper separation of church and state. Brent will speak on “Defending and Extending Religious Liberty for All: How Are We Doing?” I am honored to be one of the respondents along with Professor Abdullah Ali of Zaytuna College, a scholar in Islamic law and prophetic tradition.

The Spirit arrived on Sunday with colors and flame, with poppers and geese, with beautiful music and an appreciation of all things red. We also received the fruit of the Spirit as gift and challenge. Later that afternoon, Resounding Achord and the Carlmont High School Chamber Choir presented a splendid concert focused on compassion, justice, and the things that make for peace.

Which is the focus for this week’s worship. As Jesus came close to the end of his earthly life and ministry, he sat on the hillside and wept over the old city of Jerusalem. “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” He could foresee the destruction of the city that lay just  around the corner. So, what are the things that make for peace. Is it too late for us to learn them and practice them, or are we sowing the seeds of our own destruction? Isaiah presents a vision of the Holy Mountain that rises in the center of God’s Beloved Community. Here the Spirit blows wildly, wisdom flows freely and there is no longer hurt or destruction for creation is set right. Will we ever get there?

In Adult Spiritual Formation we will welcome Geoff Browning, United Campus Christian Minister at Stanford and some of the students who went to Nicaragua on a good will trip this spring. He will also share news of the Stanford Peace and Justice Initiative. UCCM is a mission project of FBCPA. Both Charlotte Jackson and Pastor Gregory currently sit on its board.

Come join us for any or all of these opportunities Sunday, starting at 10:00 AM. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us as we explore the things that make for peace.

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

Pastor Rick