A Most Improbable Daddy (6/19/2016)

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Texts: Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26: Matthew 17:14-21 (The Message); Horton Hatches the Egg

This has been a hard week – more difficult for some than others, I’m sure – but still a hard week for anyone with an ounce of compassion. Orlando is not the first murderous tragedy to scar the body of this nation and I don’t imagine it will be the last. It joins a long litany of hate and destruction that wounds our souls, individually and collectively, and threatens to undo all that we have hoped for and striven for in creating a land that promises “liberty and justice for all.”

At a time when it seems hopeless to bear witness against the principalities and powers of darkness, when feel numb and hopeless in the face of overwhelming violence and colossal evil, when the most vulnerable are under vicious attack and we don’t know where to turn or what to do, here comes Horton, the elephant with a heart as big as his body. Has he come to save us from all that threatens us? Has he come to rescue us from ourselves? Is his witness one that might lift us, as the first Christians were inspired by that great cloud of faithful witnesses in long ago times of terror? Continue reading A Most Improbable Daddy (6/19/2016)

Alliance of Baptists Grieving with Orlando

Candles lit in remembrance at congregational partner, Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.
Photo: Candles lit in remembrance at congregational partner, Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.

The Alliance of Baptists expresses our profound sadness and cries out in lament in response to the tragic shooting in Orlando. We are horrified yet once again by a mass shooting and an act of domestic terror.

We offer our prayers of care and support for all the families and friends of the ones who have been senselessly murdered and traumatically affected by this heinous act. We offer our best sense of God, rooted in our followership of Jesus, and expressed across the world’s enduring religions, that God is love and that God’s love embraces all with great care and compassion. Continue reading Alliance of Baptists Grieving with Orlando

A Note from Pastor Rick (6/15/2016)

Lament for Orlando by Meg HessIn the study of psychology, we discover that numbness is often a first response to trauma. I feel something of that as I have tried to wrap my mind around what happened in Orlando this weekend. I don’t live in that part of the country and no one I know so far was personally affected. But, as others have commented, a gay bar has been sanctuary, “sacred space,” in this country for most lgbtq people as we’ve struggled to find safe space and journey partners in a hostile world. For whatever reasons, the pain of this violation is palpable for me. I thank God that I find safe space and blessed community among you and I thank you as well. May God bless and keep us. May we yet find the grace and peace of God’s Beloved Community where no one hurts or destroys anymore.

We had a great time hanging out with and learning from The Lorax last Sunday:

 the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.’”

Thanks to Daniel Ha for his beautiful playing of movement from a piano sonata by Beethoven. We have certainly been blessed with young musical talent recently. Sunday we will have more as James Poe will play his violin once more before heading for summer in New York City, where he will be studying with famed violinist, Itzhak Perlman.

Our Suessian text for Sunday is the tale of that wonderful elephant Horton, who hatches an egg. It seems to me a wonderful text for Father’s Day, as well as a reflection on faithfulness. Jesus says if we had the faith of a mustard seed we could move a mountain. Paul says faith sustains people like Abraham and Sarah on perilous journeys to strange places when God calls. Horton says “an elephant’s faithful, one-hundred percent.” How about us? Can we make such a claim? The Psalmist says “God’s steadfast love endures forever.” Isn’t that the model for fatherly love, from whomever it comes?

After worship we will enjoy our first cookout of the season on the patio. It’s another way to celebrate Father’s Day. We can use your help in making this a grand event. Come for worship Sunday at 10:00 AM and stay for the cookout. 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

Pastor Gregory Says… (6/15/16)

Lament for Orlando by Meg HessThis week is a very difficult week. 50 lives were murdered and over 50 more injured by Omar Mateen’s terror attack on a queer Orlando Night Club. Our prayers are with the families and all in relation to those affected. The most challenging person for our culture to pray for has been Omar, the shooter, but as a queer person myself who has been reading many of the articles and talking with many close queer friends about what has happened I think it is necessary we follow Jesus’ commandment: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). This week, amidst all the pain and sorrow be in prayer for Omar and his family and the families of all those connected to evil, violence, and hatred – they are in need of God’s saving grace more than we might ever imagine. Amen.