Karen's Blog



May 2, 2016

posted May 2, 2016, 5:43 PM by BVPC WebAdmin

 

The greening of Jefferson has begun, and they are stocking the Rockaway with fish! This means that the season has truly changed and we are on our way to the great weather of late spring and beautiful summer.                                              There is something about this kind of change that I really enjoy. It is gradual and beautiful. Maybe it is the “gradualness” that I appreciate.

God often works in our lives very gradually. As a person who doesn’t like surprises, I can appreciate that pace of work. Even in the worst times of my life, gradually moving through pain, and into a better situation, helped by it slowness. 

However, when we are waiting for test results or health or someone to come home or food, delayed gratification is very difficult. Yet, when the results or the event does happen we are full of joy.

We are still in the time of Eastertide. We have Jesus dwelling with us. He is about to promise to his disciples- a comforter. This comforter is known to Christians as the Holy Spirit. And we are waiting….waiting…waiting.

So as you wait, enjoy the change in the creation around you. Smell the cleansing rain, fish in the river, walk the dog, listen to the joy of children playing  outside and praise God for all his goodness.

 

Loss

posted Apr 15, 2016, 2:18 PM by BVPC WebAdmin

 

Sometimes loss seems to be stalking us. When we lose money, we feel poor. When we lose status, we feel useless. When we lose a friendship, we feel lonely. When we lose someone who is close; friend, relative, spouse, child, to death- the emotions are too much to bear.

There is no easy way to pour love and kindness on these feelings. One has to go through them. I was going to say “simply go through them“ but there is nothing simple about loss. 

The disciples lost Jesus at the crucifixion, gained him once again on the road to Emmaus, in an upper room, at the shore by the Sea of Galilee. Then, in another bold move by God, they lost Jesus again at the Ascension. By now, they must have known that he would be always with them.

Our experience is not the same. Loss not only stalks our every move, it overwhelms us. We do not like to speak about death but rarely do we speak about eternal life.  I want to always remember that eternal life is what we pray and hope for daily.

I do wish there were easy answers for all our mourning. We know that is not so. However, speaking, praying, sharing and gathering together will help ease the pain and loss. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can bring something to the conversation. The promise is that “whenever two or three are gathered together, I AM with you.” 

Happy Birthday, Paul.

 

 

 

 

Easter

posted Mar 28, 2016, 6:22 AM by BVPC WebAdmin

 

Why Do You Seek?

One of the biggest frustrations of my life as I get older is the seeking. Seeking for ideas, seeking the right directions, seeking things I have misplaced. How many of us have moved from room to room trying to remember what we got up to find in the next room, only to turn around and not remember until we reached the place we started. We keep moving so we can find what we need.

The women come to the tomb to complete a job, a caring ministry on Easter morning. The women have come to the tomb looking to prepare Jesus’ body with the spices that are traditional to the Jews at the time. They are introduced to us later, after they have seen the men in white and been asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Yes, they are frightened yet they go and tell the disciples – they move. They need to share their experience.

And they are not believed. However the scripture lists their names and those names are recognized by us since they are followers of Jesus. We follow their story.

Then the scripture tells us that even after believing the women to have spoken “nonsense,” Peter gets up and goes to the tomb. He has had a difficult three days. He is trying to process, in his mind and heart, everything that has happened in Jerusalem.  He moves, he seeks, he finds the story the women shared to be truthful.

He moves. Peter moved. Peter went seeking. He went to the tomb. He needed to see for himself.  When he left the tomb, the Bible says that “he was amazed.” So what happened next?

Hope was born in the darkest place.

Seek, find, tell and know that you are reborn this Eastertide.

 

Holy Saturday

posted Mar 26, 2016, 6:16 AM by BVPC WebAdmin

What an odd day in the Christian calendar! We call it Holy Saturday to make it different from any other Saturday. We go along with our daily routines, having been in church for two days previous to today.

Many Christians gather for an Easter Vigil on this Saturday evening. The tradition is to wait until it is dark, then to light a fire just outside the meeting (church, perhaps). Friends gather at the fire and are handed a small candle to carry through the night.

The Pascal Candle is lighted from the new fire. The evening begins. There is a service of scripture readings taken from the Old Testament as the events of God’s people and God’s continued saving grace is spoken out loud for all to hear.

The tone changes as responses are sung and the mood lifts. Night is slowly fleeing. Now the readings move to the New Testament and the Gospels. A sermon or homily follows. 

Tradition takes over as persons seeking baptism are baptized and welcomed into the fellowship of the Christian community. The entire group reaffirms their baptismal vows at this point. 

Communion (the Eucharist) is celebrated and it is Easter morning. Though usually still dark, it is morning, and joy intervenes. 

Sometimes I believe getting back to our roots (Scripture and traditions) help us to better understand who we are as faithful people. Think about it.

Good Friday

posted Mar 25, 2016, 6:16 AM by BVPC WebAdmin

Out of the depths

I cried to you

Lord, hear my prayer. Psalm 130

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Psalm 22

It is Good Friday and there is no reason to call it “good.” On this day we can hardly imagine the horror of the crucifixion. But wait, we have seen in just the past week a bombing in Brussels. We know people have lost loved ones, friends and family members in that tragedy. And wait, we have lost our own family members, some of us recently, and the hurt is still present. And wait, some of us are experiencing health issues that loom with fear before us.

Tragedy has the capacity to gather us and to separate us. The disciples separated after the events of that Friday. Confusion and fear drove them. It took time before they realized coming back together would strengthen them.

Isn’t that what life needs? Coming together, strength in numbers, sharing fear and joy?  Faith should always lead us on that path.

The sadness of Good Friday grips me. Where are you today? Is it gripping you?

Maundy Thursday

posted Mar 24, 2016, 11:59 AM by BVPC WebAdmin   [ updated Mar 24, 2016, 12:02 PM ]

Blog Maundy Thursday

According to the liturgical calendar for 2016, Lent is ended and we begin, today, d TriduumTriduum - the three days leading up to Easter morning. Yes, it is important that these days have their own special name. 

Maundy Thursday (aka Holy Thursday) is the day we celebrate the last supper Jesus ate with his disciples while he was in his human form. Scholars feel that it was most likely a Passover meal. The speaking elements are there, incorporated in our own Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper liturgy. 

The word Maundy comes from the Latin, mandatum, and then through Middle English- mandyor French-mandebasically the root word for mandate. Jesus gives a mandate to the disciples saying, “whenever you eat this bread, drink this cup, do so remembering me.” 

It is a holy meal, a time to gather, reflect and since we all know the end of the story, to rejoice. This meal, this sacrament is our mandate, today and tomorrow.

Holy Week

posted Mar 21, 2016, 12:16 PM by BVPC WebAdmin   [ updated Mar 21, 2016, 12:18 PM ]

            *   Holy Week? Home or away…

Here we are the day after Palm Sunday. As Christians we experience Holy Week through all the different traditions. Scriptures say that Jesus entered Jerusalem to spend the Passover feast with his disciples. This year our  Jewish friends celebrate Passover in April. The calendar does not always work together through the traditions.

If we consult the Synoptic gospels, we find that Jesus, through what we call Holy Week, was in the temple, still teaching. He healed the sick and wandered the streets of the city that week. We continue with our usual tasks this week as well.

When I was growing up we looked forward to vacation the week after Easter. Maundy Thursday was “spring vacation eve” for us. That really did make Easter special. Now school calendars don’t reflect our holy days in the same way. Many folks travel this week because school is out. With Easter early this year, the school vacations tend to be later.

Where are you this week? Is your faith at home or on vacation? Think about it.

This week we will gather at the Christian Education building on Thursday to eat together- a great pot-luck meal. We will do a simple Seder meal and communion, remembering Jesus’ time with his disciples in the upper room. Friday we will participate in a Tenebrae service in the sanctuary. Come and join us!


From the Pastor's Desk

posted Mar 18, 2016, 6:37 PM by BVPC WebAdmin   [ updated Mar 18, 2016, 6:57 PM ]

In the Interim

 It is a New Year and already January is speeding past us. What a wonderful celebration we  had over the Advent and Christmas season. I am so thankful for all the help we received.  Volunteers for worship, our dinner, our PW Christmas card for Habitat homes. All these made  the celebration very precious.

 Thank you for a most generous Christmas gift. What an expression of confidence and caring.  You are a most unique and loving congregation.

 As all of you know by now, the Pulpit Nominating Committee (PNC) is working hard on the  position description for the new minister. It is called the Ministry Information Form (MIF).  Newton Presbytery representatives have met with our PNC and the Oak Ridge PNC this  month. The work of the PNC is confidential, however, they will report on their progress from  time to time. This will happen at announcement time in worship and at any special meetings  we might have this year.

 The Annual Meeting of the Congregation and Corporation will take place on January 31st.  Please make every effort to be present. We hope to present the nominees for church officers  at that time. Plus, in great BVPC fashion, lunch will be delicious, I know.

 What are some of the plans for 2016?                                                                

 Hospitality  

·      Confirmation Class

·      PNC continues meeting and working

·      Send Youth to Triennium

·      Explore new method of Nominating Church Officers

·      Complete the Operations Manual

·      Web site renovation

·      VBS (pairing with local churches and Johnsonburg)

·      Boy Scout and Girl Scout involvement in church

·      Gifts of Women

·      Expand Bible and book study options

·      Tailgate

·       All things we already do well continued through the year

   In addition I want to add a note about something our deacons are currently working on for us.  They are creating a sheet that has personal emergency numbers on it- for people who are      interested. For example, I live alone and if something happened to me in church and I could  not talk, who would you call for me? It would help if someone had the contact information for  my parents, my sisters or my son. We do not have this. So, to be caring and helpful we are  pulling this together as a church family. Help our deacons care for you!

 The Session, at their January meeting, took a good look at finances and how we might look to  the future as we share a minister. We are learning more about those finances.

 The CHURCH of Jesus Christ in 2016, wherever it might be located, has many challenges.  God’s kingdom is a promise that we need to live out. This journey of faith is a gift to each of  us.

 Friends, please continue to listen for the still, small voice of God as you enter this New Year  2016.

 Alleluia, amen.

 Pastor Karen

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