“New Year” Thanks

Three candlesA “new year” has begun, at least in the church tradition of kicking off the congregation’s educational emphases sometime early in September. Thanks to everyone who helped make our “Rally Day” a good one, with worship, Sunday School for children and youth and our final cookout of the season on the patio.

And speaking of thanks, Sunday we also took time to celebrate Eleanor and Hugh Satterlee for everything they do around here. They are both volunteers extraordinaire! We are a better community and this is a better place for all they share with such uncomplaining grace and dedication. In the litany in their honor, we prayed that we might “find in them inspiration and example to do likewise.” Indeed, that is our hope. A congregation runs on the generous participation of all its people, working, playing and worshiping together.

This Sunday, as “we make the road by walking,” we step back from the earliest creation stories in order to let Jesus enter the scene. Our focus text will be John 1:1-18, traditionally a Christmas reading. Here we use it to link Jesus the Christ to those beings or forces, like Wisdom and the Spirit, that were with God even before the beginning. We celebrate that in Jesus the Word, the meaning of God’s creative activity, became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth. God has, is and will continue to shape us and all creation according to holy principles and purposes. Will we choose to cooperate in this vast creative enterprise?

Please join us at 10:00 AM for worship and Sunday School and stay for Adult Spiritual Formation, in which we will begin consideration of another Brian McLaren book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution of Hope, as part of our participation in Campaign Nonviolence in Palo Alto. Bring someone to share the day with you.

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

Pastor Rick  

Legacy and Faith

pastors and interns
Doug Davidson, Pastor Rick, Pastor Tripp
and Naomi Schultz

An extra large helping of gratitude for everyone who pitched in to make our Rally Day and 120th Anniversary celebration so wonderful.  Special thanks to Marilyn Hunwick for all the work she did in the archives and setting up the displays, to Thelma Parodi and Lynn Hunwick for sharing their memories, to Eleanor Satterlee and Pastor Tripp for organizing the luncheon.  Though we missed Jan (who was off celebrating her birthday at the 49ers home opener,) we were delighted with the musical offerings of Ruth Butterfield-Winter, who played everything from Chopin to down home gospel with gracious flexibility and a smile on her face.  Pastor Tripp led the children and youth in an informative exploration of our roots in real time and via ipad.  We also celebrated the blessings of our interns, Doug and Naomi, and pledged to support one another through this coming school year.

It was a great day to focus our attention on those who came before us, who built this church and kept it going over many years.  As I said Sunday, their legacy is not just the rich resources they left behind, it is also their indomitable faith which informs our present ministry and calls us to participate in God’s new thing as it unfolds before us.

This Sunday I will be in Denver, Colorado, preaching the installation service for my friend, Brian Henderson, as pastor of the historic First Baptist Church.  It was interesting to hear Paul Tuan say Sunday that he and Jessie were married in that church 57 years ago.  Pastor Tripp will be preaching and leading in worship here.  His theme, drawn from the classic children’s book, is “The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” focused on Psalm 14 and Luke 15:1-10.  There will be Sunday School for children and youth as well as the kick-off for Adult Spiritual Formation, considering “What I Did on my Summer Vacation.”  It promises to be a good day at FBCPA.  I encourage you all to be here at 10 and stay for ASF.  Why not bring a friend to share the day?  See you next week.

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

Who Is My Neighbor?

13-05-22.pentecost_banner.fwThanks to everyone who helped with last Sunday’s worship service and church picnic.  Special kudos go to Eleanor Satterlee (and her sidekick, Hugh) for organizing and overseeing the picnic.  It was a very enjoyable occasion.  It was also great to have Pastor Tripp back from his sojourn in Virginia.  We missed his guitar, banjo, mandolin and mellifluous tones, among other things.

This Sunday we will consider one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  This is a very familiar territory.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves from time to time of what this story teaches.  It grows directly from Jesus’ affirmation of the Great Commandments – to love God with your whole being and to love your neighbor as your self.  It is interesting to have a focus on this second commandment two weeks in a row, as Paul quoted it in his letter to the Galatians, which we looked at last Sunday.  Maybe it really is important, even crucial, that we continue to try to understand, embed, live out this great commandment – to love others as we love ourselves.

“So. just who is my neighbor,” the Pharisee asks?  This is a relevant question for us as well.  Obviously Jesus is talking about more than the family next door or your co-worker in the next cubicle.  Neighborliness seems to have broad connotations in Jesus’ thinking – maybe extending to strangers, enemies, reaching around the globe.  One question implied in Jesus’ story is who are the people we would find it most difficult to claim as neighbor?  Look there if you want to know the challenge of neighborliness for yourself.

Come this Sunday at 10 AM dressed for the picnic and ready for celebration.  Bring someone along to share the morning with you.

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