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Pastors' Column

Each week one of our pastors or staff members writes a column observing what is going on in our congregation, the Church and the world, and offering reflections on the Christian life and faith. Through this series of columns, we hope to connect your and our story to the enduring story of Christ; to offer pastoral reflections on our ongoing congregational life and mission; to report on news of the Presbyterian Church and Church universal; and to invite further reflection and deeper discipleship. We welcome your comments and suggestions. In other words, our words here are an invitation to continue the conversation.

Together, Growing in Generosity

Whenever the Session meets to receive new members, I am fond of including in prayer some words to the effect of: “Thank you, God, for making of this old, historic church a new church today!” The church is made up of the people of God, and together we share similar qualities and characteristics to any living thing.

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Family Conversations

A church member recently shared with me that in parenthood, "the days are long, but the years are fast." As a parent, I'm regularly reminded that our children are growing up in a culture that is changing more quickly than at any other time in history.

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Doing Good Together

After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus offers this new commandment for his followers: “This is my commandment: You shall love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

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Theologian-in-Residence

Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church has a wonderful tradition of inviting scholars from around our country to spend time with us to share their research and apply it to our life and work as a congregation. The Theologian-in-Residence program was created in appreciation for the ministry of David and Ruth Watermulder here at BMPC for 24 years.

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World Communion Sunday

Last week I hosted a lunch for area Presbyterians to meet Dr. Reeta Rao from Dehrundan, India. While BMPC’s mission support in India goes to Emmanuel Hospital, Dr. Rao is supported by the Pottstown and Ardmore Presbyterian Churches, and our gathering gave folks in this area of the presbytery an opportunity to learn about the good educational and medical work she is doing among the poor.

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Third Grade Bibles

I was convinced that my Third Grade Bible was especially holy.  On the day of the presentation, two wonderful women wrote our names and a special verse in beautiful calligraphy. At the bottom of the bookplate, the ministers had dutifully signed in illegible scribbles noting the day when the Bibles were presented.  The cover was burgundy and the page edges were gilded. I remember a sense of pride that I was being entrusted with such a beautiful book.

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Studying Scripture in Community

I still use the study Bible that I bought my first semester of seminary. It was the first Bible that I actually bought myself. Every other Bible I ever owned was either given to me by my church or one that I took down from my parents’ bookshelves at home.

One look at my study Bible and you will know that it has seen a lot of miles. The binding is taped up to keep it from tearing any more than it already has. The thin onion skin pages are dirty from being turned and flipped through. The pages are a little dirtier at those books I was required to translate in seminary. The pages are a little cleaner and fresher at the books and passages that I have neglected or that don’t appear in our regular cycle of lectionary scripture readings.

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Getting Ready for Rally Day

When I was growing up I loved getting ready for the beginning of the school year. There was always a bit of nervous wondering about which teacher I’d get or if close friends would end up in the same class. My memories of those concerns are now far overmatched by the excitement I recall in getting ready by shopping for a couple of outfits and picking out a pair of new shoes. But the greatest thrill was getting new school supplies: a box of crayons perfectly pointed and arranged in a rainbow of color, notebooks with pristine paper, an array of binders and a whole set of new books. As I got older the ruler gave way to the pencil compass, and long after I grew beyond being the child getting ready to become the parent who paid for the supplies, our children began to need calculators of such sophistication that I couldn’t tell you what they were meant to compute. As a child, as a parent, and as a pastor now conversing with BMPC families beginning a new school year, I cannot round the corner of Labor Day without remembering with fondness how I love getting ready for a fresh start.

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Taking a Lead

If you watched any of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, you likely saw a few swimming or track and field races. Races were won as Olympic and world records were set. At some point, an athlete can decide to take the lead in a race. Knowing when to take a lead is the goal of any race.

In our spiritual lives, God invites each of us to take a lead. Taking a lead doesn’t mean having all the answers, or always knowing the right direction to go. Taking a lead means setting an example that others can follow. Taking a lead means finding the courage to be out in front, ahead of the crowd. At times it may feel uncomfortable and you may feel unworthy, but ultimately, when you take a step of faith, God gives us the courage we need.

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God’s Presence and Providential Love Sustains Us

Psalm 90 proclaims with great certainty of faith the constancy of God from the beginning of time to life everlasting:

                       Lord, you have been our dwelling place
                              in all generations.
                        Before the mountains were brought forth
                              or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
                              from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 

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