Posts from July 2020

To My Beloved PBBC Community,

May I be a guard for those who need protection

a guide for those on the path

a boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood

May I be a lamp in the darkness

a resting place for the weary

a healing medicine for all who are sick

a vase of plenty, a tree of miracles

And for the boundless multitudes of living beings

may I bring sustenance and awakening

enduring like the earth and sky

until all beings are freed from sorrow

and all are awakened

These are ancient words, written in the sixth century, and yet they are as timely as if they were written today. Words have the power to console, create and inspire us; to comfort, challenge and change us. During vacation I immersed myself in the power and promise of words…reading novels, seeking new literature and language for our time, rediscovering hope for this time.

Words allow us to capture a vision of the world, not only as it is, but as God intends it to be. And so I pray you have someone to guard, guide and protect you; I pray you can be a boat, raft or bridge of understanding each day; I pray you will bring light to the darkness and rest to the weary, provide healing whenever possible, and still offer plenty wherever emptiness remains.

While we remain apart, may words both ancient and new be the miracles we need. I thank Heidi for preaching the Word to us, for us, with us; I thank YOU for being the Word among us.

May God sustain us on our path…freeing us from sorrow and awakening us to joy!
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

“I Wish You More”
(Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld)

I wish you more ups than downs
I wish you more give than take
I wish you more tippy-toes than deep
I wish you more we than me
I wish you more hugs than ughs
I wish you more WOO-HOO than WHOA!
I wish you more will than hill
I wish you more can than “knot”
I wish you more snowflakes than tongue
I wish you more pause than fast-forward
I wish you more umbrella than rain
I wish you more bubbles than bath
I wish you more treasures than pockets
I wish you more stories than stars
I wish all of this for you
because you are everything
I could wish for…
and more

How I wish we could safely gather in our sanctuary each Sunday…worshipping our God, singing our hymns, greeting our friends, and serving our world. But we do these things in our hearts.

How I wish we could know for certain the most effective way to protect ourselves and all those we love, as well as all those God loves, from this pandemic. But we trust this is the best way.

How I wish we could seek peace, create justice, and walk humbly with God for the sake of our neighbors and those we call strangers. But we keep working together to build a better world.

I rejoice in the many ways we have been sharing our wishes…calls and emails, texts and visits, recording of services, our “Bridging the Gap” prayer circles. After four weeks of these small sacred gatherings we are taking a Sabbath break. We will not meet over the next two weeks during which time I will take some vacation, and we will prepare for the rest of the summer.

Thank you for being everything God could ask for. I will see you, write to you, and talk to you in a few weeks. I will pray for you, and wish more for you, every day.

Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

A Prayer of Humility

Ready to be humbled, we come before you, Loving God

We will be open to the viewpoint of another
even if it goes against a long-held assumption.

Ready to be humbled, we come before you, Loving God

We will listen to the straightforward questions of children
and respond to them fully.

Ready to be humbled, we come before you, Loving God

Those of us who yearn for satisfying work or leisure time
will have the courage to move in new directions.

Come to me and I will give you rest

Those of us who bear grudges and have hurts that seemingly cannot be healed
come in hope to you, Loving God.

Jesus says, “Come to me and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

We hear these words of Jesus. We take them to heart.
(Written by David Sparks)

We continue to be torn apart and driven in conflicting directions as our nation seeks to confront a multitude of challenges and changes, from cultural tragedies to a healthcare crisis. This litany invites us to pray…that we might be open, and listen; that we might move in new directions, and hope; that we might be humbled, and rest; and that we might take the words of Jesus to heart.

I am grateful to be offering these prayers with you. Thank you for listening and for having hope; thank you for sharing the humility of your hearts; and thank you for trusting me to lead the way.

Together we come before, and stay before, a loving God…
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

I share with you these words of Peter W. Marty
from the June 17, 2020 issue of The Christian Century

“Conspiracy theories do not present the best face of contemporary culture.
The people behind them hatch sinister plots and disseminate cruel disinformation…
Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a flurry of conspiracy theories.
Such theories tend to thrive in times of uncertainty and crisis,
and the coronavirus has provided the perfect backdrop for some crazy ideas.
If conspiracies are here to stay…we in the church ought to retrieve
a deeper meaning to that word conspiracy.
John Courtney Murray liked to use the term to describe
the beautiful collaboration among people who are filled with the spirit of God.
The root of the word conspire means ‘breathe together.’
…we might think of the Pentecost story as a true conspiracy:
not some evil design or sinister gathering, but a consensus for good.
The coronavirus is giving us all a fresh reason to band together
and breathe goodness into a chaotic world.”

I’ve never really been one for conspiracy theories, but I like this different way of imagining them. As the pandemic continues, I am grateful for the gradual phased reopening taking place here in our state as we seem to be moving in the right direction. And yet I am increasingly mindful of friends and family, neighbors and strangers in other parts of the country who are facing new surges of the virus, and renewed fears for public health and safety. More than ever before, in Peter Marty’s words, we need to “band together and breathe goodness into a chaotic world.”

As we “conspire” to be the church and do our ministry with an abundance of caution, what a joy and blessing it has been to begin “Bridging the Gap” and gathering in our small prayer circles. The words above so perfectly describe what we are doing…forming a beautiful collaboration among people who are filled with the spirit of God. Thank you for joining in our collaboration; thank you for wearing masks and social distancing; and for those who have not been here in person yet, thank you for being present with us in thought, in prayer, and mostly in love.

In order to protect and respect one another, we will continue recording worship services this summer, and we will gather together in small groups as long as it continues to feel safe. As the pace and demands of ministry increase, my weekly words may soon have to become “Every Other Weekly Words,” but know that all of you form a beautiful collaboration within my heart, and I trust that we will band together and breathe together, filling the world with God’s spirit.

Conspiring with you to share goodness, grace and gratitude,
Pastor Claudine