Sunday Service for November 29 Is Now Available

Icon of The Second Coming - Greece, ca. 1700
Icon of The Second Coming – Greece, ca. 1700

The service for the first Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020, is now available here. You can also view a list of past Sunday services here.

Please remember to join the online prayer meeting at 11:00 am after the Sunday service.

To balance the spiritual needs of church-goers with the physical health risks from gatherings and COVID-19, Riverside Baptist Church is offering online Sunday services. Rev. Mumejian shares the word of God and a bulletin guides you through the service. Through these online resources, you can continue to connect with God and the Riverside community.

Sunday Service for November 22 Is Now Available

The service for November 22, 2020 is now available here. You can also view a list of past Sunday services here.

Please remember to join the online prayer meeting at 11:00 am after the Sunday service.

To balance the spiritual needs of church-goers with the physical health risks from gatherings and COVID-19, Riverside Baptist Church is offering online Sunday services. Rev. Mumejian shares the word of God and a bulletin guides you through the service. Through these online resources, you can continue to connect with God and the Riverside community.

Living in the Realm of God

“Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid…”

Matthew 25:24-25a

“So I was afraid.” Afraid of what? What was the servant who received one talent afraid of? Perhaps fear of the character of God and also perhaps fear of taking a risk?

I’d argue the third servant doesn’t understand the character of God. The reason he doesn’t understand is because he responds to the master by saying “I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed.”

If you look at all the parables in Matthew, you don’t see these characteristics of God. The third servant’s comments to the master are a mischaracterization of God, the God that we are told who throughout the Old Testament, and even in Matthew, is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and mercy.”

This third servant in the parable of the talents had more fear than trust, fear of living out the abundance and riches for which we have all been given. If we live just in the now, then perhaps we too will live in fear, but if we live in the realm of God, in the kingdom that is already but not yet, the time between Jesus’s first coming and second, then we can live both in abandon and with abundance; and we can go for it, risking all, loving everyone. When we hold back love we hold back our greatest talent.

~Rev. Nick

Sunday Service for November 15 Is Now Available

Entrusted Talents, by Paulamaria Walter
Entrusted Talents, by Paulamaria Walter, part of “Paths to Art”, a sculpture path in Schwäbisch Gmünd-Straßdorf, Germany, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

The service for November 15, 2020 is now available here. You can also view a list of past Sunday services here.

Please remember to join the online prayer meeting at 11:00 am after the Sunday service.

To balance the spiritual needs of church-goers with the physical health risks from gatherings and COVID-19, Riverside Baptist Church is offering online Sunday services. Rev. Mumejian shares the word of God and a bulletin guides you through the service. Through these online resources, you can continue to connect with God and the Riverside community.

Take Refuge in God

Dear Church,

This past Tuesday night I was privileged to participate in the prayer vigil in DC led by the Emergency Clergy League. Below are the words I shared and the prayer I offered:

The Muslim theologian Said Nursi famously said, “I take refuge in God from Satan and politics.” These days when hate is normalized, children are ripped from their parents, prohibitions are placed on ethnic and religious groups as well as groups associated with their specific orientations, and the value of life is commodified to determine if it matters or not, I speak sincerely when I say it seems hard to find the line between Satan and politics; nonetheless, we seek refuge in God.

And so, as a nation we see many supposed people of faith claiming heirs, rights even, to the “true” political way.

I was reminded recently how James Wm. McClendon cited Roger Williams as a key source for understanding authority rightly. As a Baptist minister I would be remise not to include a little nod Williams. McClendon, drawing from Williams’ life and thought, observed, “From Jesus onward, government interference in anyone’s faith, be that faith false or true, constituted disobedience to Jesus himself; if undertaken for supposed biblical reasons, it was self-refuted.”

Yet here we are with a new supreme court justice, on the day of a critical election where a coalition of “emergency clergy” have gathered to intercede. And intercede for what? I suppose for many of us, of all faiths, we would say peace and justice.

But allow me to speak as a Christian for a moment. The always brilliant Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney reminds us, “If our gospel proclamations are not true for the most marginalized among us, women, non-binary folk, trans folk, gender-nonconforming folk and LGBTQIA folk, then our gospel is not true.”

And so, we pray to the God of creation to create new hearts within our elected leaders, reminding them that we are all tasked as stewards of God’s creation, a gift for us and our children.

We pray to the God of Abraham whose offspring are more numerous than the stars above, may we as children of Abraham work towards peace and not conflict, as we are all family.

We pray to the God who used Balaam’s ass, that even if a donkey can be taught obedience unto God so can any of us. We pray that obedience unto the sovereign God is instilled upon the hearts of our elected officials.

We pray to the God of Joshua, that as the walls of Jericho fell, so too will the walls we build up both spiritually and physically be brought down.

We pray to the God of a Jewish radical who taught the first shall be last, the captives would be set free, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and even love our enemies, praying for those who persecute us.

And finally we pray as the one who once did the persecuting instructed saying: Beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in God, and the God of peace will be with you. Amen

~Rev. Nick

Sunday Service for November 8 Is Now Available

The Lamp of Wisdom, Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire, England
Lamp of Wisdom, Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire, England

The service for November 8, 2020 is now available here. You can also view a list of past Sunday services here.

Please remember to join the online prayer meeting at 11:00 am after the Sunday service. Today’s prayer meeting will conclude with virtual communion. Please have communion elements of bread or a cracker and a cup ready to share in this sacrament.

To balance the spiritual needs of church-goers with the physical health risks from gatherings and COVID-19, Riverside Baptist Church is offering online Sunday services. Rev. Mumejian shares the word of God and a bulletin guides you through the service. Through these online resources, you can continue to connect with God and the Riverside community.

Think About These Things

Dear Church,

As we take each day at a time and approach this critical election, let us be prayerful and hopeful. May we be comforted in knowing that the God of all creation is in control no matter the outcomes. I love you all and am praying for each of you by name.

In relation to the election, I encourage you to read this article in which Pastor Bledsoe, along with some Riverside friends, are featured.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in God, and the God of peace will be with you.  Amen.

~Rev. Nick 

Sunday Service for November 1 Is Now Available

The service for November 1, 2020 with guest pastor Rev. Dr. Jill McCrory is now available here. You can also view a list of past Sunday services here.

Please remember to join the online prayer meeting at 11:00 am after the Sunday service. Today’s prayer meeting will conclude with virtual communion. Please have communion elements of bread or a cracker and a cup ready to share in this sacrament.

To balance the spiritual needs of church-goers with the physical health risks from gatherings and COVID-19, Riverside Baptist Church is offering online Sunday services. Rev. Dr. Jill McCrory shares the word of God and a bulletin guides you through the service. Through these online resources, you can continue to connect with God and the Riverside community.