Pastors Message – May, 2014

Deep silence leads us to realize that prayer is, above all, acceptance. When we pray we are standing with our hands open to the world. We know that God will become known to us in nature around us, in people we meet, in situations we run into. We trust that the world hold’s God secret within it, and we expect that secret to be shown to us. Prayer creates that openness in which God is given to us. Indeed, God wants to be admitted into the human heart, received with open hands, and loved with the same love in which we have been created.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen

Dear Friends,

At a Lenten Dinner I spoke of the story of the "widow’s mite", one of the Bible stories leading up to the Passion of Christ. Immediately my mind was taken to hands and their posturing. My thought was that this was a woman of poverty, stark means, alone in the loss of her husband, a person who knew what it meant to be a second-class citizen in that cultural society. Yet, her posture was one of open hands. The song "Grandma’s Hands" by Bill Withers played in my head.

Our hands tell a story of what we have done, where we have been in the etching of scars, lines, missing fingers, callouses. Sometimes our hands are clenched in anger, sometimes holding on to animosity, hatred, sometimes unwilling to let go. Sometimes, like the widow with open hands, are we willing to be open and generous in spirit? Sometimes are we willing to receive the grace and love that God freely gifts each and every one of us with open hands? May the posture of open hands encourage us to God’s will, to the presence of others, and openness ….

Finally, from the cross, with openness Jesus cried out loudly, "Father, I place my life in your hands!" [Luke 23:46] Then he breathed his last.

In Christ,

Pastors Message – April, 2014

“We miss the point if we [don’t make Easter] a life-changing commitment. We fail to realize that Easter demands as much of us now as it did of the apostles then. Most of all, we miss the very meaning of the Easters that we are each dealing with in our own lives, in our own time.”
Joan Chittier

Dear Friends,

Through the living Christ we experience resurrection in all of creation. Resurrection is in the hopeful echo that returns from even the loudest cry of despair. Resurrection is the whisper of peace within the shout of violence. Resurrection reminds us that life is abundant and that even paths through death can lead us to new life.

Someone once said fear of death never helped someone live longer but it kept them from living. This Easter morning there was ¡§An Empty Tomb¡¨. How do we as Christians live life without a physical presence? Can we rise to the Easter challenge? Like the first disciples are we frightened to enter an empty tomb because of the challenges that lie within it? If we enter the tomb despite our fears and clothe ourselves with the linens of Christ, can we then leave ready to serve our world? Are we willing to struggle to find Christ and then be ‘little Christs’ in the world? Do we view the church and the body of Christ as separate entities? When we are dead and gone what will Big Flats Presbyterian be known for ¡X a place that cared for its widows, strangers to our doors, the handicapped, broken people seeking peace, and the poor in our community? Will we strive to empower our children with a spirit that is peaceful and respectful of others? Or, will we be remembered as a sepulcher of dead dogma, doctrines and traditions?

Let us remember that the resurrection tells us that ¡§Love is Alive¡¨ in all circumstances.

Keep seeking. Keep knocking. Peace and Blessed Easter,