Two flags…

twoflagsSunday we dedicated two flags that are now hanging in front of our building. The flags are symbols of our desire to be welcoming and inclusive and to be good stewards of creation. We know that Baptists often get lumped together as Bible-thumping, right-wing fundamentalists. It is important that we say to our neighborhood, our community, and the world, this is a different kind of Baptist community. All are welcome in this place.

Here is the litany we used in Sunday’s service:

God, we have long proclaimed to the world that “we are a welcoming, inclusive community of faith.” As we seek to live into that claim we recognize that symbols are important.

We also recognize that “faith without works is dead” and symbols without commitment are meaningless.

We ask you to bless these symbols of our desire to live out our welcome and inclusion and to love your creation and care for the earth more completely. At the same time, we ask you to bless the work of our hands, our hearts, and our minds as seek to live out our commitment to inclusivity and creation care.

Guide us always in your way, bless us and keep us in your tender care.

We join you, hand and heart and mind, in bringing your Beloved Community to fullness of life, right here and right now. Amen.

Peace month has begun in earnest. This Sunday we will celebrate Mother’s Day by focusing on mothers who have stood for peace and justice. Our texts are the two hymns – one by Hannah at the birth and dedication of Samuel and the other by Mary at the prospect of giving birth to Jesus – recorded in 1 Samuel and Luke respectively. Each in her way praises God for the gift of life and the possibilities for new life that each son offers to those who will listen. The wise leadership of Samuel and the ministry of Jesus both focused on the well-being of their followers and advocated for a just and equitable social order. Did these passionate prayers of their mothers help to shape their lives and bring forth their witness? We will consider these possibilities Sunday in worship and in Adult Spiritual Formation. What role do mothers play in bringing about God’s Beloved Community, rooted in justice and grounded in shalom?

Come Sunday morning at 10:00 AM for worship, study and shared community. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us as we begin to explore the things that make for peace.

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

Pastor Rick