KOH2RVA: Day 60

Glen Lea Elementary School

It’s the day after Election Day, and this is what I’ve got to say: Jesus was Lord when I went to bed last night and he was Lord when I woke up this morning.  Not only that, but he’s got work for us to do.  Maybe the best thing we can do on the day after is stop crying in our coffee or dancing in the streets and get on with the work of the Kingdom!

That said…

I got this email from Steve Blanchard at the end of October and have been slow about posting it, but read through it if you will and take a look at all the KOH2RVA events going on in November (and these are only the ones Steve knows about).  If you have others, please let him know or let me know so that we can get the word out.  If we’re going to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, it’s going to take all of us working together–with Jesus, by the grace of God, and with the help of the Holy Spirit!


Just a few updates to keep everyone in the know and also so you can help spread the news. Please let me know if there are other KOH2RVA or Compassion events happening in November that I have not posted. Blessings.

  1. The Essex Community Fair was postponed due to impending weather. It will be rescheduled later.
  2. The Awareness Tours have been advertised on the web site and by a poster in the hallway but no one has signed up. Please help get the word out and invite people to sign up.
  3. The Richmond Homeless Dialogue meets this Thursday, November 1 at 3pm here at FBC if you would like to attend. The topic is housing.
  4. The mission team going to Costa Rica leaves Saturday and will be gone through the 11th. Team members are Matthew Brown, Madison Brown, Jeff Dortch, Joe Evans, and Elise Cumbia.
  5. We will be providing pizza and drinks for Glen Lea teachers next Monday, November 5th,  for their parent teacher conferences. If anyone would like to provide a dessert, please contact Raylene or Linda
  6. There will be a Fall Festival at Glen Lea Elementary on November 10 from 11am -2pm. If you would like to help in any way, please notify Raylene or Linda.
  7. Richmond Homeless Connect will be at the Richmond Convention Center on Tuesday, November 13, from 9am until 3pm. Those in our homeless community will be able to receive a variety of services, all under one roof. To help, contact HOMEWARD.
  8. The staff of FBC will be hosting Grace Fellowship November 15.
  9. A mission team from James Madison University will be at FBC Nov. 16-20 and will work at Essex Village on Sat. and Sun. and at Glen Lea on Monday. They will also be present at CARITAS every night (at FBC) to hang out with our guests.
  10. CARITAS begins here at FBC on Saturday, November 17th. If you would like to help, please contact Charlie Ball.
  11. FBC will be providing transportation service for Essex Village parents who have children enrolled at Glen Lea and wish to attend a community workshop at Glen Lea on Monday, November 19 from 6pm-7:30pm.

Steve Blanchard
Minister of Christian Compassion
Richmond’s First Baptist Church
2709 Monument Ave.
Richmond, VA 23220

A Prayer for the Fifth of July

Yesterday was a wonderful day in worship at Richmond’s First Baptist Church.  I was afraid we might get carried away by the spirit of patriotism, and turn the worship of God into a festival of freedom, but that’s not what happened.  While acknowledging that it was a special day in the life of our nation, and expressing our gratitude through the singing of hymns like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful,” we did a pretty good job of remembering why we had come to worship, and whom.  Eunice Kim started us off on the right foot, sitting down at the piano and playing a pyrotechnic version of “Our God is an Awesome God.”  And when it was time for the pastoral prayer, I offered this:

O God, you who birthed a nation from a barren womb
And made your covenant with a band of runaway slaves;
You who have watched over the rise and fall of every nation
Great and small, near and far, before and since;
You who were in that stuffy room in Philadelphia
when this nation declared its independence;
Be with us now.

Help us see things as you see them.
From your point of view there are no national boundaries,
No ugly black lines on the face of the globe.
From your point of view the greatness of any nation
Is not measured by its gross national product,
Or its military strength,
But by the way its people embrace your truths
And love the things you love.

And so, even as we strike up the band
And join the parade,
As we light the fuses of firecrackers
And celebrate our cherished independence,
We ask that you would teach us the discipline of responsibility
So that we may use our freedom in ways that help and heal
Rather than hurt and destroy.
As the Apostle Paul has said, “let us not use freedom
As an opportunity for self-indulgence
But rather, through love, let us become servants to one another.”

On this Independence Day we pray especially
For the United States of America and for her president.
We ask that you grant to him and to all our elected officials
Extraordinary wisdom, unwavering compassion,
and a clear sense of your kind of justice.

We pray that as a people we may become what you promised to Abraham:
A nation by whom all the nations of the world are blessed.
May the people of Asia and Africa, Europe and South America
Soon be able to say, if not already, “Thank God for America,”
Even as we thank you, O God, for what is,
And look forward by faith to what will be
When your kingdom comes, and your will is done,
On earth as it is in heaven.


So may it be, on the Fifth of July as well as the Fourth.

Doo-Doo for President

crying_babyHere’s a story from Sunday’s sermon that everyone seemed to enjoy.  It’s based on that passage in Mark 9 where Jesus takes a little child into his arms and tells his disciples, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me” (vs. 37). 


At one of my churches some of us used to go to a nearby trailer park on Saturday afternoons to work with the children there.  On one particular Saturday afternoon, a little girl came dragging her baby brother along with her. 

“What’s his name?” I asked. 

“Doo-Doo,” she answered. 



So, Doo-Doo it was.  He was really too young to be there.  We usually worked with children four and older.  But his sister held him on her lap and for a while he did fine.  But then he began to get tired, and then he began to cry, until the tears spilled down his fat brown cheeks and his nose began to run.  It went on for a long time until finally, exhausted by all that crying, he fell asleep right there in the middle of the floor.  I begged the children not to wake him but to their delight they found that they couldn’t wake him, no matter how hard they tried.  They were poking him, prodding him, clapping their hands in front of his face and shouting, “Doo-Doo!” I began to feel sorry for him, and asked someone else to take over while I took him home.

He lived just a few trailers away.  And as I walked with him in my arms I looked down at his face.  That peaceful expression, at last.  Those tightly curled eyelashes.  The salty tear-tracks on his cheeks.  The dried mucus under his nose.  Away from all those other children I could focus my attention on this one child, and as I did I began to imagine the life that was ahead of him:  probably he was just one more child in a trailer that was already too full.  And probably he would go off to school when he was old enough, without any preparation, without anyone having ever read Dr. Seuss to him.  And probably he would try, for a while, until he failed so often he stopped trying.  And then he would stumble through a troubled adolescence and into an even more troubled young adulthood.  And if the statistics proved true in his case there was a good chance that he would never live to see his twenty-fifth birthday. 

As I held him in my arms I seemed to see his whole life stretched out before me, his whole, short, sad life.  And my heart went out to that child, and I almost cried myself.  I came to the trailer where he lived and knocked on the door.  I waited until a tired and bored-looking young woman yanked it open.  “Is this your baby?” I asked, holding him out.  “Yeah,” she said, as if it wore her out to admit it. “He fell asleep,” I said.  And then I put him into her arms and watched as she jerked him inside and shoved the door closed with her hip.  For a full minute I stood there, wondering what I could do.  And then I turned and said with a sigh, “God, please take care of Doo-Doo.” 

He was just a little kid.  And in the eyes of the world he will probably never amount to anything.  He won’t be a soccer star, or the pastor of a prominent church, or the president of the United States (I mean, really, can you imagine the bumper stickers?).  Yet in that moment—in that crazy, upside-down, Kingdom of God moment—I saw him the way Jesus saw him.

Nobody was more important.


For the full text of the sermon click HERE.