FBC Macon

Nurture. Love. Serve. ALL.

We’re proud of our Baptist history and heritage, but we’re also proud of our diversity. At First Baptist you will find a group of people coming from a variety of different church backgrounds and denominations who have found a home at the “top of Poplar.” And while our congregation comes from all over middle Georgia, we are a downtown church and see it is our mission to be the presence of Christ to our InTown and College Hill communities here in Macon.

Filtering by Category: Scott Dickison

I Arise Today

Outside the church, St. Patrick is most associated with shamrocks, leprechauns, Guinness, and all the other popular imagery of Ireland. But inside the church, Patrick, who (unlike St. Valentine) most would agree is an actual historical figure, credited with the conversion of the island of Ireland to Christianity some 1500 years ago.

A rich tradition surrounds St. Patrick, remembering him as a beloved itinerant preacher, walking through the countryside with a shepherd’s crook, drawing inspiration from the Irish landscape to reveal theological truths. For instance, it’s said that Patrick used the image of the shamrock to describe the Trinity. Just as God exists in essential oneness yet in three “persons,” the shamrock has three leaves, yet one stem.

Patrick also left behind a beautiful, poetic, and deeply theological “prayer for protection,” known as a “lorica.” As the story goes, he lifted this prayer as he was being pursued by the armies of his enemies. At the time of the would-be ambush, when he and his monks walked by, they appeared to those lying in wait as “wild deer with a fawn following them,” and escaped to safety.

The full prayer (known by various names: St. Patrick’s Breastplate, The Lorica of St. Patrick, St. Patrick’s Hymn, or even The Deer’s Cry) is quite long, but often appears in a truncated form:

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me,

God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,

God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,

God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,

God's shield to protect me, God's host to save me

From snares of devils, from temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Remembering these parts of his tradition, St. Patrick’s Day comes at just the right time of year, as the world around us awakes from the browns and grays of winter into the vibrant greens of spring, and we in the church continue our Lenten journey to new life. We, too, might pray for protection, that we would arise each day in the knowledge of the love of God and the abiding presence of the one with whom we walk this journey.

SHD

Bright Sadness

Eastern Christianity speaks of Lent as a time of “bright sadness.” It’s bright because we know the promise of resurrection waits for us on the other side. But there is nonetheless sadness because in order to see the light of Easter morning we must first pass through the darkness of Good Friday. Lent is, after all, a walk with Jesus to his death. That he would be raised is always meant to be a surprise.

Theologically speaking, this is a delicate balance to walk, holding both Jesus’ death and his resurrection in equal measure. To lean too much in either direction risks minimizing the other.

And yet, there’s something about this notion of “bright sadness” that we know deep in our bodies. We’ve all felt a kind of “sad brightness,” where our feelings of joy and satisfaction are tempered when we realize they are fleeting.

When we realize the vacation will end and family will return to their homes.

When summer is over and a new school year starts.

When you see the marks on the doorframe measuring a year’s worth of growth.

There’s a sadness behind every bright spot. Perhaps a gift of Lent is reminding us that this is okay; that it’s at the heart of our story. Even the risen Christ had wounds.

Perhaps the more difficult notion is that there is a brightness behind every sadness. This notion is more hard-won because the brightness is not immediately visible. We often must sit in the darkness for sometime before the brightness is revealed. We must move through the darkness to get to the light. This, too, can be a gift of Lent, as we tell this story together over the course of so many weeks in worship.

The great Orthodox theologian, Alexander Schmemann, describes the hope of Lenten worship this way,

“Little by little we begin to understand, or rather to feel, that this sadness is indeed ‘bright,’ that a mysterious transformation is about to take place in us…All that which seemed so tremendously important to us as to fill our mind, that state of anxiety which has virtually become our second nature, disappear somewhere and we begin to feel free, light and happy. It is not the noisy and superficial happiness which comes and goes twenty times a day and is so fragile and fugitive; it is a deep happiness which comes not from a single and particular reason but from our soul having, in the words of Dostoevsky, touched ‘another world.’ And that which it has touched is made up of light and peace and joy, of an inexpressible trust.”

Such is the great hope of this season we enter, this story that we tell, and this life we live together. The life we know deep in own bones, that we pray this season will lift to our hearts.

 

SHD

The Church Needs Lent This Year...

For the Church in America, it seems the season of Lent can’t come soon enough this year.

In these last several weeks the Church has dominated the headlines for all the worst reasons. First there were yet more revelations of the extent of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, and even worse, a culture of silence and cover-up reaching the highest levels of the institution.Then there came the scathing report of widespread abuse and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention. While this report was contained to abuse within the SBC, we know full and well no church or denomination is immune from these horrors.

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A Service of Unity

In the last couple of months I have become involved with a paired clergy group coordinated by John Dunaway of the Mercer University Beloved Community Symposium. This group pairs pastors from predominantly African-American congregations with pastors of predominantly white congregations in the hopes of fostering relationships that will not only benefit the pastors themselves but also their churches, and dare we say it, the greater Kingdom of God. This group meets for breakfast about once a month andincreasingly has looked for ways of deeper and broader engagement.

In my sermon a few Sundays ago I mentioned an exciting event organized by this group in the hopes of doing just that. This clergy group has worked to plan what’s being a called a Unity Worship Service. It is being hosted by Rev. Leroy Reeves, Jr. at Center Hill Baptist Church here in a Macon, on Sunday, September 29, at 6:00 p.m.

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I Love to Tell the Story

To many outside the church, the Christian faith often comes across as a system of out-of-date rules and regulations—“Thou salt not this, that or the other”—and the Bible is understood to be simply a directory of these instructions.

But if you’ve read much of the Bible at all you know that by and large it is not a collection of rules and regulations, but instead a collection of stories, which taken together form one larger story of God and the people of God. Even what rules there are in the Bible always come within the context of a story. The 10 Commandments, for instance, don’t just drop out of thin air, but come to us within the story of the Exodus—God’s word given to Moses on Mount Sinai to pass on to the people to let them know what was asked of them as they became God’s chosen ones.

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Telling Time

How you tell your time says a lot about how you tell your story. And I don’t mean whether or not you like to wear a watch or how often you check what time it is on your cell phone, as is growing to be more the case (for me, at least). Keeping track of the seconds, minutes and hours is part of it, but by “telling time” I really mean keeping track of the bigger picture, and there are many ways to do this.

Our culture generally thinks of time in a “linear” way. We number our days and years, always progressing in our numbering. We know that last year was 2012, this year is 2013, next year will be 2014 and so on. We speak metaphorically about “history repeating itself,” but in practice we have a sense that we are always moving forward.

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WEEKLY SERVICES

Sunday
Sunday School at 9:45am
Morning Worship at 11:00am

Wednesday Evening
We begin with a meal at 5:30pm. Music and missions activities are available for adults, youth, and kids. Learn More

 

CONTACT US

511 High Place
Macon, GA 31201
Directions to FBCX

Telephone: 1.478.742.6485

Email: office@fbcxmacon.org


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