First Baptist Church
819 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476
April 30, 2016
2 pm-5 pm
Humility - Unity in Diversity
Refreshments provided by All Hands In
Fellowship and Meal
The offering received during worship will be donated to Friends of the Region and designated for Prescott Lodge that is replacing Memorial Lodge, which burned down last fall at Camp Grotonwood.
First Baptist Church of Arlington is a church of faith where people can grow to their God given potential. If you are just now exploring the claims of Jesus Christ for the first time as an adult, or if you have been a personal Christian for years, it would be great to have you join us in our spiritual journey.
We are a group of people who are at different places in our spiritual walk discovering together what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century. Some of us are very traditional church folk. Some of us are postmodern. Some of us are young, some wish we were. We are shades of black, brown, and white.
We are a Baptist church because we believe in the centrality of the gospel, the importance of scripture, the necessity of personal faith, and the freedom that is found in Christ. Our faith has provided a place for us to stand in facing life, and we have found some meaningful answers. We also have many questions.
I'm so glad you're looking at our home on the web. If you'd like to know us better, come by on a Sunday morning for our worship service, or drop in at one of our group meetings or special events. Our worship service starts at 10 am.
I'll be here, and I look forward to meeting you.
One of the things I really like about being a Baptist is that our churches are a jumbled mix of very different people. We usually have folks come together from lifestyles that would never cross paths with one another other than in church, have bank accounts that range from terrible to terrific, and hold theological ideas that go from carefully thought out orthodoxy to “Gee! I never thought about that!” The one common denominator is we are all drawn to Jesus because Baptists truly lift him up as the one to worship and follow. Simply, he is Lord.
Our curious mix of widely different people makes it rather hard when we find ourselves discussing politics. Some Christians take the safe road of believing that religion and politics don’t mix. Others jump on a particular band wagon and “baptize” a certain candidate or a particular talking point and indicate that if you are really a Christian you must support and vote a certain way or else.
As a pastor I try to remember that my calling is to follow Paul and “be all things to all people.” That’s a goal that would drastically fall on its face if I suddenly began beating the drum for one viewpoint or one candidate. People who saw their political salvation differently would stop listening to me, and my ability to be their pastor would be harmed. It’s hard enough for the good folks at First Baptist Arlington to accept the fact that my first love is really Kansas State Wildcat football rather than the Patriots!
The problem is that both Christian faith and politics ask basic questions about the nature of human beings and the world, what we see as ultimately important, and how we should act. Because faith and politics seek answers to these intertwined concerns, it is impossible for a follower of Jesus not to be politically involved. I frankly believe this is especially true today, where I see the current fray has moved from being mainly political to being primarily moral and ethical.
I am not going to tell you to vote Democratic or Republican or Rainbow Green or anything else that might pop up in the mess. I am going to tell you to be a Christian! Let your faith, your Christian values, and Jesus’ direction to seek first the kingdom of God guide you. If your faith doesn’t shape you, then it’s quite likely you will be guided by your discontent, anger, greed and fear, since these seem to be the human emotions being preyed upon to get votes. As a Christian, I believe the vision of the kingdom of God is a whole lot better than what we are being offered.
So let me tell you what I am going to do. I am going to remember first of all that I have a leader far better than all the current presidential candidates put together. I am going to join his campaign, and tell everyone who will listen that he is our hope and salvation. And I am going to try to evaluate everything I do, and everything I hear with the rule of thumb Jesus has taught me: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-39)
I have heard various comments about how expensive Easter is. The day before Easter I spent quite a bit more than usual on groceries. Then there are candy and treats to buy - chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and other special desserts. How about that bunny shaped cake? Then the grandchildren need church shoes and fancy dresses. How about matching outfits for the little boys? Things seem to add up quickly.
But is that really the cost of Easter? The real cost was to Jesus as he lay down his life as a ransom for our sins on Good Friday. It cost him the betrayal of his friends and disciples. It cost him the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that accompanied his crucifixion. It cost him the pain of being separated from his heavenly father who could not look upon him as he bore our sins. It was very costly to the pure, sinless son of God.
It was costly, too, this year to the Christians in Pakistan as they gathered in a park to celebrate the resurrection of the risen Christ on Easter morning. A bomb exploded killing at least 69 and injuring 300 more. They were present-day martyrs. They didn?t expect to actually meet Jesus that Easter morning, but they did. They were ushered into his presence as a heavenly celebration was doubtless taking place. So though their cost was high, their reward was great! Their physical bodies were destroyed, but they were clothed in glory with resurrected bodies as all believers will someday experience. Actually, that?s what Easter is all about! Thank you, Jesus!