From There to Here and Back

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Text: Acts 1:6-11 (The Message); John 17:1-11 (NRSV)

“Well, dear Theophilus, God-lovers all, the story continues…” writes Luke at the very beginning of the book of The Acts of the Apostles. His aim is to show how Jesus lives on in the life of the church through the empowerment and direction of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the one who fills Christ’s followers with courage and strength.  The text tells us that life in the Holy Spirit is not only promised to the disciples in the days to come, the Spirit is actually the One through whom they have received instructions from Jesus.  The Spirit has already been active in their lives indirectly; now they are promised direct experience of that same Spirit.

Much of Christian tradition has made a claim for the Resurrection as the culmination of Jesus’ life and ministry, but a case can be made for the Ascension.  John, in particular, argues this. “…now I am no longer in the world…I am coming to you… glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed,” Jesus prays to God. John wants us to understand that Jesus’ journey is, most importantly, from there to here and back. But, just as important is the message that this journey is also ours. We come from God; we return to God; and always and forever it is in God that we live and move and have our being. This is crucial to what Jesus was trying to show those first followers – and us – in the Incarnation.

Continue reading From There to Here and Back

Sin Boldly

Cathleen Falsani
Cathleen Falsani, author of “Sin Boldly”

We’re on the verge of one of those big transitions in the liturgical year.  This Sunday (which is also Mothers’ Day) marks the end of Eastertide with a celebration of the Ascension.  The following Sunday, May 19, we will celebrate Pentecost, the “birthday of the church.”  Some theologians believe that the Ascension is as important as the Resurrection.  Here the Gospel comes full circle as the Christ, who descended from God, returns to God.  This is the ultimate homecoming on which all homecomings are patterned.  The course of our lives on earth is this journey from God to God.  It is the driven by the desire to nest our restless hearts in the heart of God.  It is the culmination of communion, now face to face with the Creator.  Jesus shows us the Way.

We also begin a three week study in Adult Spiritual Formation of Cathleen Falsani’s book, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace.  Falsani argues that “Grace makes no sense to our human minds.  We’re hard-wired to seek justice, or our limited idea of what that means, and occasionally dole out mercy.  Grace is another story.”  This is a great opportunity to explore the author’s work before she visits us in person on June 2.  It is also a great opportunity to invite someone(s) to come along with us on the journey.  I’m sure we all know folks who would benefit from an encounter with grace.  Looking forward to seeing you Sunday at 10.

May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.

Pastor Rick