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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.

Friendship in Faith

Almost three years ago I received an invitation. The email asked me to participate in a symposium for pastors just beginning their ministry. It was to take place at Second Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Virginia. We would spend six days together discussing the various responsibilities of a pastor: preaching, pastoral care, teaching, supervising staff, leadership, and more. Our leaders were two current pastors and a seminary administrator. The invitation made it clear that this was a small group, designed to foster lasting impact, and that I needed to respond quickly. I eagerly leapt at the chance to partake in such an opportunity. I submitted my application and marked my calendar for late-March 2020.

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Whenever a church prepares for a major anniversary, there is wisdom in pausing to celebrate our history as a community of faith and to reflect on where we are going. These are holy conversations. Holy in that they are set apart by a celebratory moment in time to think about our identity as a congregation, our sense of purpose as disciples of Christ, and where God is calling us as we step into our next chapter of ministry together.

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.