Logo cleaned newcolorsBryn Mawr

Presbyterian Church

Menu

Psalm133

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.

A Lenten Sojourn

In the last congregation I served, we sent out a post card to everyone who lived in our local neighborhood inviting them to join us for worship. The front of the card showed a roadside billboard with the phrase – “Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip.” It was a way to encourage people to join us even if they were struggling with their faith, and especially if they had experienced church and faith in a negative way in the past. I am not sure how many people decided to join us for worship or even membership because of that card, but I kept it on the bulletin board in my office for years to remind myself of it for my own journey.

Read more: A Lenten Sojourn

The Psalms as One Lenten Companion

Yesterday we began our journey into Lent with the Ash Wednesday reminder that, by the gracious mercy and steadfast love of God, the death of Christ redeems our own. As we prepare for the joyful proclamation of Easter’s dawn that Christ is raised from the dead, we are called to observe this Lenten season with a special kind of devotion and reflection. Because Lent is a journey, we should expect to find ourselves somewhat different at the end. Closer to God, deeply grateful, aware of how love suffers for another, renewed for discipleship, more open to how God acts in our lives and in the world. The journey offers many possibilities of where we might end up and how we might be changed.

Read more: The Psalms as One Lenten Companion

Youth Sunday

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. -Psalm 71:17

What memories do you have as a teenager in the church? These days, the teen years have become even more critical in determining whether our youth will continue to explore their faith as young adults.

Read more: Youth Sunday

Enacting Christ’s Ministry

This coming Sunday’s Congregational Meeting is called after the 10:00 a.m. worship service for the purpose of acting on changes in the Pastors’ Terms of Call and to elect persons to serve in important leadership roles. The Nominating Committee will put before the congregation names of persons who have agreed to serve as Ruling Elders, Deacons, Trustees, Members of the Nominating Committee and the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. On the one hand, this kind of meeting of the congregation can seem wholly routine. On the other hand, when viewed through the lens of Reformed theology and Presbyterian governance, this work of this meeting represents the movement of the Holy Spirit among our congregation calling individuals to deepened levels of service through the commitment of their time and talent. It is evidence that we are the Body of Christ working together to usher in the realm of God.

Read more: Enacting Christ’s Ministry

A Holy Pause?

This is a different pastor’s column. Originally, I was going to write about our Congregation Wide Day of Service. I was excited to tell you about the opportunities that awaited on Saturday morning—opportunities to create welcoming and nurturing spaces in the Education Building, to help resource partner churches, to work in community to feed and shelter neighbors in need, and more. I was excited to write about the opportunity and the gift we find in service; however, the Day of Service has been postponed. Instead of serving, we’re looking ahead to a day of snow. I wonder; however, if this isn’t a different opportunity… and a gift.

Read more: A Holy Pause?

New Year Beginnings

I always enjoy greeting the New Year with a cordial welcome and a commitment to clean up a bit in order to prepare for what is to come. At home I am glad to sweep up the remnant Christmas tree needles, clear out the rest of the clutter, and get that last thank you note written. In the church I am happy to turn the calendar to a fairly clean page and begin looking forward to worship and seasonal traditions, to anticipated events and new, even unexpected things that will arise over the horizon. January ushers in a new year for all of us and an anniversary for me because exactly three years ago I moved to Bryn Mawr and began my work among this congregation as your pastor.

Read more: New Year Beginnings

A Visit with Cathy Chang

This week the Presbyterian Church (USA) is engaging in seven days of prayer and action to fight against the problem of Human Trafficking around the globe. Working against this devastating issue has become a priority for Presbyterian Women both on the national and local level as well as for the work of Presbyterian World Mission in their fight against the root causes of poverty and confronting cultures of violence.

Read more: A Visit with Cathy Chang

The Longest Night

The observance of the longest night of the year, when we acknowledge the darkest of days and anticipate the light to come, makes space in worship for people for whom the Advent season surfaces grief as well as hopeful anticipation. Some of us approach Christmas with sadness because we miss a loved one who has died, or we are part of a family experiencing the trauma of illness or divorce. Statistics show that a rise in depression is common during the winter, and it is particularly prevalent during the holidays. And this year all of us have been exposed to the chaos of mass shootings, civil unrest at home and abroad, and new kinds of warfare that make us especially aware of the world’s darkness into which Christ is born.

Read more: The Longest Night

Soli Deo Gloria

Perhaps over the years you have noticed that a frequent title in Advent preludes and postludes is Savior of the Nations, Come (Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland). Johann Sebastian Bach arranged it for organ several times and composed two cantatas based on the hymn, for it was the hymn most closely associated with Advent in the 18th century German church. Martin Luther actually derived this hymn from a beloved Latin hymn, Veni redemptor gentium.

Read more: Soli Deo Gloria

Advent Begins

How do you know that Advent has begun? Is it the joy of eating that first piece of chocolate in the advent calendar? Is it when that first candle is lit in worship? Is it a particular hymn or a family tradition that makes it clear that Christmas is coming and we are faithfully waiting?

Read more: Advent Begins