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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.

In Gratitude

To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything God has given us – and God has given us everything…. Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

 ~ Thomas Merton

The slower pace of summertime, I find, lends itself to a deepened sense of gratitude. Some of that arises simply from a break in the daily rhythms of life that comes with the season – trips and adventures, family reunions, expansive vistas along the seashore or from a mountaintop, an extended Sabbath rest from the usual routines of life. Longer days seem to spark an inner light and lightness of being that allow me to linger over the beauty of hydrangeas blooming at every turn, the birds feasting and flying around the yard, the fresh herbs overflowing their containers and the promise of green tomatoes on the vine. Summer just naturally invites grateful mindfulness for the gifts of life in the beauty of God’s creation.

A Faithful Addition to the Youth Ministry

My name is Jack Liskey. This past May I graduated from Concordia University Chicago after studying psychology and theology. I am thrilled to start working in Youth Ministry at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church!

The Potential of the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, the day was set aside for cooking out, boating and fireworks. Family and friends got together to pick crabs, swim, and enjoy the nice weather. I always went to bed exhausted, often after chasing fireflies into the night. It was a celebration full of life, which I think explains why it became one of my favorite holidays.

Hungry Religion

I am preaching this Sunday about a pair of healing stories. But one thing I don’t fully extrapolate in the sermon is the earthiness of the second healing. In Mark 5, after Jesus has raised a little girl, seemingly from death, he tells her parents and the disciples present to “give her something to eat.” It’s cursory, from the outset. But food is never cursory in our family.

Seek and Find: VBC 2021

My office is always messy — projects, donated bottle caps, piles of books, a case of hand sanitizer — the mixture of “stuff” often stymies my best attempts at organization. This time of year, the chaos seems to multiply! Now, in addition to everything else, there are piles of rocks, a box of compasses, a kaleidoscope kit, several attempts to make a God’s Eye, a case of Band-Aids®, and a bag of birdseed.

What is a Church?

On Sunday, June 20, I will welcome my third class of new members who have joined our congregation since the pandemic began. To be honest, I don't blame folks who prefer not to join in the middle of a global health crisis. Too many of us were worried about finding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and antacids to have found much time for joining another organization.

Anti-Racism Summer School

Over the past year we have had a lot of conversations about the work of anti-racism. I know we have said this before, but the truth that this work does not look like a straight line bears repeating. Even for myself, I need to re-read books and articles to gain an accurate understanding of the author’s perspective. I can have the same conversation multiple times before a conversation partner and I have reached a shared understanding. The number of new articles, documentaries and commentary on these issues of equity, language, history and community can be hard to keep track of.