Posts from May 2020

To My Beloved PBBC Community

We believe in the Spirit who blows through our lives:
unsettling us,
stirring us up,
propelling us forward.

We believe in the Spirit who comes as a fire:
warming us,
empowering us,
re-making us.

We believe in the Spirit who frees our tongues:
for talking of God,
for prayer,
for advocacy.
We believe in the Spirit:
the Counselor,
the Helper,
the Breath of God.

As we prepare to celebrate the Day of Pentecost this coming Sunday, I am inspired by these images of the Holy Spirit; they speak to so many of our experiences right now…

Winds of change blow and we are unsettled by our lack of human contact, stirred up by our fear of the virus, propelled forward by our faith that will not let us go.

Flames of passion burn and we are warmed by acts of love and generosity, empowered by stories of sacrifice and service, re-made by losses and lessons we are moved to appreciate.

Tongues speak and we talk of all that is essential in the eyes of God, we pray for all that is burdened in the grief of God, we advocate for all that is left unsaid in the justice of God.

In these days of Pentecost let OUR spirit become a HOLY Spirit, as we become counselor to those who struggle, helper to those who serve, breath of God to all those who believe.

I believe in you, and remain with you…Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

as I listened to the winds and rain hitting hard the windows all night
I thought of the tulips in my backyard
thin and long stems just out of the ground
such gentle petals
will they survive

the sun came out as if nothing happened
and I found the tulips
as tall and proud
like a miracle

over and over again I learn
there’s power in gentleness
and often I find
it is a gentleness
that gets us through the storms

people like tulips
who seem too gentle therefore vulnerable
when the storm comes
while hard branches get broken
the wires get cut
yet they still stand tall
because their gentleness
kept them from damaging
themselves and others
(The Rev. Ho-Soon Han)

Today is the day our state begins its cautious and critical journey toward reopening, and I am mindful of my own need to find places of peace, patience and resilience along the way.

Despite my early hopes of gathering for Sunday worship in the next few months, and in light of anticipated state restrictions and church guidelines, we will likely need to wait until fall.

I plan to continue recording Sunday services; I also hope to create safe, joyful ways to hold small weekday prayer services at church during the summer. In this way we will survive and stand tall, and in gentleness, like the tulips, keep from damaging ourselves or others.

Eager to be with you again, in God’s resilience, patience and peace,
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

You can trust God:
In the moments of celebration,
At the high points of life,
God is there,

You can trust God:
In the dark moments,
At the low points of life,
God is there,

You can trust God:
In the moments of doubt,
When decisions fail you,
God is there,

You can trust God:
In the certainty of faith,
When you are inspired,
God is there,
(“Prayers to Share” by David Sparks)

As this journey continues to stretch out before us, we may need these words more than ever…to know that when we are hopeful, God celebrates with us; when we are struggling, God sustains us for another day; when we are uncertain, God clarifies what is essential; and when we are confident, God goes with us to be the people we are called to be.

We are all waiting and watching, listening and learning, as our state nears the first phase of reopening. Churches are receiving guidelines on how and when we can safely begin to move toward resuming public worship services. Our Council is preparing to meet on June 8th to make plans for the coming months; we will keep you informed as to where we go from here.

But no matter where we go or how soon we get there, through these ever changing and challenging days, through high and low points of life, through doubts and certainties of faith, we will stay together, trusting the God who celebrates, sustains, clarifies, and goes with us.

As always, Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die…
a time to break down, and a time to build up…
a time to weep, and a time to laugh…
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…
(Ecclesiastes 3)

Sister Eileen from Mercy by the Sea in Madison sent out these words last week: “Scripture tells us yes, there is a time for everything…and we don’t always like the time we are in, but we must enter the time and allow it to change us, mellow us, slow us down, soften us.”

We may recognize that we still need this time apart for the health and safety of all people, but I think it’s safe to say that we are also becoming restless with this time. Social distancing brings both positive results and personal sacrifice; some restrictions are being lifted while others are being reinforced. This week we paid tribute to teachers and nurses; this Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day; we honor all our heroes in this disquieting and inspiring time.

I like the ways in which you are using this time:

Reading good novels, watching favorite television shows and movies
Taking walks, working in the yard, sitting on the porch, reflecting on life
Talking on the phone with family and friends, calling other church members
Finding peace on the water, sewing face masks, knitting prayer shawls
Sending cards, doing puzzles, getting to know ourselves again
Taking pictures of newly blossoming trees, pouring over old photo albums
Cooking and cleaning, shopping and sleeping, helping and hoping
Listening to music, revisiting quiet hobbies, connecting in creative ways
Giving thanks for steady paychecks, sustaining jobs, government assistance
Praising our essential workers, all those called to the front lines
Praying for the unemployed, the underpaid, all those deemed non-essential
Remembering our past, refocusing our present, reimagining our future
Waiting and worrying, watching and wondering, seeking and serving
Keeping our faith
Marking God’s time

Yes, there is a time for everything…a time for joy and for sorrow, for lessons and losses; a time for burdens and blessings, a time for things broken and for things beautiful. All of our time is in God’s hands, and all of you are in my heart.

Pastor Claudine