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.

Stepping into May

"I was little back then." The confidence of a four year old is inspiring. This particular four year old looked at me with steady and understanding eyes, nodding as he held onto his palm frond with a tenacious grip. "Yes, you were little," I thought. He hadn't yet turned two the last time we had marched into the Sanctuary on a Palm Sunday morning. In fact, he had been too little to join the parade back in 2019. Looking at him, struggling to see over the pew, I remarked, "You're still little." Some of our fifth graders were chuckling at the comment, rolling their eyes, as they too had things to say about this child's relative relationship to "little."

Theologian In Residence 2022

One of my favorite things to do every few years is to flip through the old Theologian in Residence file I inherited when I began working here seven years ago. In it are correspondence between BMPC clergy and some of the most renowned public scholars and theologians of the late 20th century as scholars of note were invited to teach and preach for the congregation and larger community. I love reading their notes of gratitude for time spent with us, their regrets at not being able to accept the invitation, and even some of the logistical back and forth that even 20 years ago took place via letters sent through the mail, rather than through email as we do today.

Easter Joy!

Preparing for Easter this year is such a joy! Knowing that for the first time in three years we will gather again to raise the roof with Hallelujahs and brass instruments, the organ soaring with corporate congregational singing, the beauty of lilies and the faces of friends to behold.

God’s Friday

Have you ever wondered why we refer to the Friday before Easter Sunday as “Good Friday?” Why is it not called “Dark Friday”? Without knowing the resurrection was to come after the crucifixion and death of Christ, the disciples and family of Jesus feared that darkness had truly fallen on all their hopes. It is possible that “Good Friday” is a contraction of “God’s Friday,” just as “goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with ye.” Perhaps the name Good Friday isn’t because the actual day was good, but rather it was the day in which we could see the goodness of God.

The Language of Art

There have been times in my life when art conveyed what my own words could not. Sometimes it has been a song; other times it was a painting that captured a feeling or personal experience that had previously eluded my grasp. In each situation I have been grateful for art’s ability to fill the gap of understanding when words are lacking. Art has helped me comprehend my world and myself.

Spring Turtles

Earlier this week, on the sunny blue sky first full day of spring, I was working my way through the neighborhood from the church to the interstate in order to drive downtown to visit a church member in the hospital. You know how the roads between here and the Schuylkill curve around a number of creeks. There are a couple of places where Mill Creek is dammed up so little ponds appear, and as I was driving alongside the creek, I noticed a young woman standing near the road taking a picture with her phone. I had to slow down on the narrow curve so as to pass her safely, and that gave me time to cast my own eyes toward the creek. There on a fallen tree protruding from the water was a bale of turtles. Yes, I had to look the word up. A large gathering of turtles is a bale!

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Speaking on the end of the age, Jesus said to the disciples, “Beware that no one leads you astray… you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed.” (Matthew 24:4-6) I can’t count the number of times in the last three weeks I have felt my iPhone ping with the latest update from The New York Times, alerting me to the developments in Ukraine. The images we’ve seen are haunting in the truest sense: fleeing refugees and sheltering civilians; airstrikes on non-military targets; smoldering buildings; smoke rising against a backdrop of the gilded onion domes of Orthodox churches; and dead children in the streets, their suitcases fallen beside them. Wars and rumors of wars, indeed.