Posts from October 2020

To be grateful for what is,
instead of underscoring what is not.

To find good amid the unwanted aspects of life,
without denying the presence of the unwanted.

To focus on beauty in the little things of life,
as well as being deliberate about the great beauties of art, literature, music, and nature.

To be present to one’s own small space of life,
while stretching to the wide world beyond it.

To find something to laugh about in every day,
even when there seems nothing to laugh about.

To search for and to see the good in others,
rather than remembering their faults and weaknesses.

To be thankful for each loving deed done by another,
no matter how insignificant it might appear.

To taste life to the fullest,
and not take any part of it for granted.

To seek to forgive others for their wrongdoings,
even immense ones, and to put the past behind.

To find ways to reach out and help the disenfranchised,
while also preserving their dignity and self-worth.

To be as loving and caring as possible,
in a culture that consistently challenges these virtues.

To remember to say or send “thank you”
for whatever comes as a gift from another.

To be at peace
with what cannot be changed.

–Joyce Rupp

This year we may have to look harder for reasons to give thanks, and reach farther to show our gratitude. But may we still praise God for daily graces, and simple blessings.
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

A Prayer for Stewardship
Dear God, for whom sacrifice is both a gift and a request:
we realize that by making us recipients of your bountiful gifts,
you have made us stewards of your beautiful creation.
Clarify our vision of the scope of responsible stewardship.
Sensitize us to the truth that the greatest challenges
to our stewardship coincide with our best blessings.
What we have received, we are to give.

You give us life. We must offer commitment.
You give us Scripture. We must study.
You give us music. We must make ourselves instruments of praise.
You give us children. We must serve as good teachers and parents.
You give us talents. We must minister accordingly.
You give us church. We must extend fellowship.
You give us the gospel. We must share the good news.
You give us each other. We must live in love.

O Giver of all that we call good and perfect, transform our gratitude
for what you have placed within our hands
into significant means of serving others as well as you.
We rejoice in our freedom. Grant us diligence in freeing others.
We are thankful for our finances. Direct our money and other resources
toward the work of your ministry and the fulfillment of our mission.
We are grateful to be able to speak. Help us to fill our words with
encouragement, instruction, inspiration and invitation.
We are pleased to be able to act. Strengthen our efforts
on the foundations of personal and social good will.

All of life belongs to you. We know that.
The possibility of cooperating with you in the ongoing work of creation and redemption
comes as both a blessing and a responsibility. We would not take anything for it,
but we certainly need your help in order to do our best with it.
Please assist us, O God.
In the name of the Perfect Steward we pray.

As we consider our gifts to God and make our pledges to the church, may the words of this prayer bring us confidence and joy. With gratitude beyond words for the strength of your giving this year, and the depth of your devotion to God’s work in the world,
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

“A Prayer for Those in Ministry”
By Oscar Romero

It helps, now and then, to step back, and take the long view.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow,
and we water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are the workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
May that future be filled with grace, peace and hope.

This may be one of those times, when it helps to step back and take the long view, to know that we see only in part what God’s future has in store, to believe that God is hard at work…within us, among us, through us AND beyond us. May that give us grace, peace, and above all, hope.

Here’s to planting seeds, laying foundations, and doing some things well,
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

“Take My Life and Let It Be”
(Text by Frances Ridley Havergal; music by Henry A. Cesar Malan)

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days – Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King;
Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold – not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose,
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine – it shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart – it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love – my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself – and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Everything is different right now…how we do our work, how we balance our lives, how we view the world. As we continue to fight the pandemic, we receive mixed messages about whether to feel safe or at risk, whether to move forward or step back, whether to open up or shut down.

We were blessed to share the bread and cup of communion last week, and yet we know people are still hungry and waiting in lines for food assistance. We have had the joy of small gatherings each week at church, yet the question of gathering safely in our sanctuary with larger numbers remains uncertain and unclear. We have known the grief of lives lost, illnesses fought, storms and wildfires raging on; politics enflamed, injustice exposed, civic responsibility put to the test.

But we still need God, and God needs us. Let us take, then, our moments, days, hands, voices; our silver and gold, heart and will; our intellect and power, life and love, and let it all be used in service to others. Let it all be offered with grace from ourselves…

Pastor Claudine