And What of the Donkey?

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Text: Mark 11:1-11

[NB. Today’s reflection on the word is more of a “poetry reading” than a traditional sermon. It was inspired by the discovery of one poem about the donkey that led to another that led to another. Hoepfully, the reflection will help to move us from the Triumphal Entry to the foot of the Cross – and beyond!]

He came riding on a donkey,
he came riding into town;
slow and easy, kind of lowly,
he came riding with the dawn.

And what of the Donkey? Maren Tirabassi plays with the fact that the donkey must first be untied to be ridden. She wonders if the untying isn’t a liberation to serve and speculates on the freedom we might experience if were untied from the things that bind us.

Continue reading And What of the Donkey?

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The Love of God

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, March 11, 2018

Text: John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:1-10

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to the human race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And everyone a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain:
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song. Continue reading The Love of God

It’s Hard to Follow Jesus

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, February 25, 2018

Text: Mark 8:27-38

Today we jump forward in Mark’s gospel. We pick up the narrative about half way through. Todd Weir points out that today’s ancient word “…is a peak moment in Mark’s narrative about Jesus. Before this chapter lies a series of miracles and triumphs. Jesus feeds 5000 people, heals the sick, and wins theological arguments with the Pharisees. He is definitely on the rise, his fame stretching throughout the small region of Palestine” (Todd Weir, “Who Do You Say that I Am?” January 6, 2018, withallmysoul.com). But things are about to take a decided turn in a different direction.

As an itinerant teacher, Jesus uses the time that he and the disciples are walking from village to village as teaching time. “Alright, you’ve been with me on this journey for a while. You’ve heard what I’ve said and you’ve seen what I’ve done. I have a question for you. Who do people say that I am?” Seems like a sensible question. After leaving their lives behind to follow, after traveling with him for a period of time, after having observed him up close and personal, they ought to have some idea of what people are saying about him. What’s the buzz around Galilee?

Continue reading It’s Hard to Follow Jesus

Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful
A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Text: Mark 9:2-10
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus. Continue reading Endless Forms Most Beautiful

With Authority

WITH AUTHORITY
A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, January 28, 2018

Text: Mark 1:21-28
21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching – with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. Continue reading With Authority

Can you hear me now?

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-11
1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to God under Eli. The word of God was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. 2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of God, where the ark of the Holy One was. 4Then God called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So, he went and lay down.6God called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know God, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him. 8God called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that God was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if the Voice calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Holy One, for your servant is listening.’” So, Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10Now God came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Continue reading Can you hear me now?

What can I give him?

A Sermon preached by the
Rev. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Sunday, January 7, 2018

Text: Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)

“What can I give him, poor as I am?” Christina Rosetti penned these words more than a hundred years ago, and still the question seems timeless. What can I give him? What can you give him – Jesus Christ, Child of God, Maker of Heaven and Earth? Talk about the classic dilemma of what to give someone who has everything!

During other seasons, we frequently sing, as our Song of Response to the Giving of our Gifts,

We give thee but thine own,
whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone,
a trust, O God, from thee.

We sing this partly because I believe it to be true. Jesus, himself, championed what is known as the debt code over against the more prevalent purity code practiced by most Jews in his day. It is an argument that, because all that is, including life itself, was created by God and shared with us by God’s grace, we are eternally indebted to God for everything. There are no hierarchies in the mind of God. None of us is better than another. None of us has a birthright to the privilege we hold. “It is God who has made us and not we ourselves. We are God’s people and the sheep of God’s pasture (Psalm 100:3). Our indebtedness to the Creator is a great leveler – we are all, each and every one of us, sheep of God’s pasture. No claims of purity, righteousness, class, race, nationality, gender, age, ability, intellect, power or privilege make us superior to another. God loves us everyone equally, without favoritism. Continue reading What can I give him?