Posts from 2020

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

To My Beloved PBBC Community

Order of Service for World Communion Sunday on October 4th
(You are invited to use your own bread and juice there at home)

Invitation to the Table
This table is open to all who confess Jesus as the Christ
and seek to follow Christ’s way.
Come to this sacred table not because you must, but because you may.
Come not because you are fulfilled, but because in your emptiness
you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance.
Come not to express an opinion, but to seek a presence and to pray for a spirit.
Come to this table, then, sisters and brothers, as you are.
Partake and share. It is spread for you and me
that we might again know that God has come to us,
shared our common lot, and invited us to join the people of God’s new age.

Words of Institution
We read in scripture that on the night that Jesus was betrayed
he gathered with his friends and disciples in an upper room;
and once they had gathered, he took a common loaf of bread,
and having blessed it and given thanks for it,
he broke it, and he offered it to his disciples, saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
And so ministering to one another in the spirit of Christ,
and remembering the body that was broken for each of us,
we share this bread…

In the same way we read that after supper Jesus took the cup and poured it out
and offered it to his disciples, saying, “This cup is the cup of the new covenant,
sealed in my blood and poured out for you, for the forgiveness of sins.
As often as you drink it, do this remembering me.”
And so again ministering to one another in the spirit of Christ,
and remembering the life and love that was poured out for all of us,
we share this cup…

Having been fed and nourished at this table, and at our own tables, let us prepare now to be bread and cup for the world! In the grace of God, the love of Christ, the peace of the Holy Spirit.

Blest be the tie that binds,
Pastor Claudine

To My Beloved PBBC Community

We are God’s people and we come to this table
out of our separateness,
to enter into unity with one another
and with all those who seek the presence of Jesus Christ.
We come to this table hungry for hope and healing,
and we ask God to strengthen us in body, mind and spirit
to do Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world.
May the Holy Spirit make us one, even though we are many,
and may our hearts and minds be drawn into such communion
with God and with one another that we become
living signs of Christ’s love on this earth.
God has called us to be one, to live in unity and harmony,
and yet we are divided…race from race, nation from nation,
person from person, church from church, faith from faith.
We are divided rich from poor, old from young,
neighbor from neighbor, even as we gather at the Lord’s Table
and join with Christians throughout the world.
May God break down the walls that separate us.
May God tear down the fences of indifference and hatred,
and forgive the sins that divide us.
May God free us from pride and self-seeking,
overcome our prejudices and fears,
grant us courage to celebrate diversity
and to open ourselves to others,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit,
make us one!
(A Church Covenant we have used for World Communion Sunday at PBBC)

On Sunday, October 4th we will mark World Communion Day by sharing in our first communion meal since the pandemic started. We are grateful to Len Lun Niang and family for providing single-serve, self-contained cups of grace juice, complete with a wafer, to distribute among us.

Because we will still be worshipping from our homes, and listening to a recording of the service, we invite you to pick up these elements when you stop in at the church office over the next week or when you attend a Bridging the Gap gathering. Please let us know if you’d like us to help deliver them to you; you may also provide your own bread and juice there at home. Next week we will send the words of institution, a communion hymn, and our traditional church covenant.

In this way, we will eat, drink and remember…until we can safely be together again at the Table.
In the love and life of Christ, broken and poured out for you, Pastor Claudine