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Sunday Spirit November 4, 2018 (click on photo)

God

If someone gave you a blank piece of paper and some colored pencils and asked you to draw a picture of God, what would you draw? Would it be a man with a long flowing beard floating on a cloud? Would it be a vision of the sun setting below a majestic mountain? Would it be a picture of your child’s face? Would it be lines all over your paper depicting the connection between all human beings?

As we tell our Confirmation students, there is no wrong way to draw God.

I read a quote somewhere that said, “We spend too much time talking about God and not nearly enough time experiencing God. So after you draw your picture of God ask yourself where or when do you experience God? To help answer, lets first answer this question – When you hear the word God what comes to mind?

I asked the children during this past Sunday’s Children’s Sermon – When you hear the word God what comes to mind?  Their response? Love, Kindness, Hope, Forgiveness.

So I told them when you experience love you experience God. When you experience hope you experience something about what God is about. When you experience forgiveness you experience something of what God means. When you experience kindness you experience God.

So get a piece of paper and some crayons and start drawing!

Sunday Spirit February 11, 2018

Think of a friend.  Picture their face.  Imagine the times you share together.  Ask this question:  Why is this person my friend?  Jesus believed in friendship.  One of his most famous teachings is Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.  Or, in other words, treat your friend as you would like your friend to treat you.

Are you a good friend?

A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen ~ Winnie The Pooh

Sunday Spirit February 4, 2018

At dawn, as the sun slips over the horizon, kids around the world get up, wash up, and celebrate a new day.

Our homes may look different, we may go to different schools, speak a language others don’t understand, and eat foods that are strange.  However, we have more in common than we realize.

Ask your child; what do other children do every day that you do every day?

Book Suggestion:  One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley

Sunday Spirit

Our full Sunday Spirit program begins this Sunday, September 13th!  We can’t wait to see many of you back from your summer adventures.  Our time together will be spent reconnecting through games and sharing.  Classes will be designated as follows:  Middle School (youth room), 3rd – 5th (room 11), K – 2nd (room 10) and toddler/nursery
(room 9).

BPC Podcasts Now Available

Our sermons are now available as podcasts through iTunes.

You can find our podcasts by searching for Bedford Presbyterian Church in the iTunes store or you can use this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/bedford-presbyterian-church/id990016322

Follow The Leader

follow the leader

 

Tomorrow morning in our worship service I am going to play Follow the Leader with the children who are there.  We will clap our hands and jump up and down and turn circles and pat our heads.  And then, when I have them all wound up, I am going to ask them to sit down and talk with me about what we have done.

Isn’t church at its best…
Or a synagogue or a mosque or a temple for that matter…
A place where we gather to learn to play Follow the Leader?
Where we come to be reminded of our bravest hopes and our best values that are wrapped up in that which we know and name as God?
Values like compassion and kindness and the common good.
Hopes like peace and justice and enough for all.
And then, having been reminded…
Having caught a glimpse of that Dream of God…
Of where God is going and what God is doing…
To walk out the doors
And into the world doing our best to play the game.
Follow the Leader.

 

Safe Places

Instead of a sermon/message this Sunday morning, our congregation will have a conversation. Or, at least start one.
A conversation about…
Violence.
And guns.
And the meaning of the 2nd Amendment.
About assault weapons.
And hand guns.
And high capacity magazine clips.
And, I hope…
A conversation about what it takes to create safe places;
For our children and for our youth and for our households.

I find myself wondering…
How much of the violence that we hear about on the news;
From Aurora to Sandy Hook to the streets of Chicago;
Has to do with alienation and a sense of hopelessness?
Has to do with individuals just not caring anymore?
Or, about pain crying out for attention in the most destructive way possible?

Yes, our elected officials and law enforcement officers and mental health professionals all have an critical role to play in our continued efforts to minimize violence and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who cannot use them safely and properly.
But places like this…
Churches, synagogues, mosques…
Communities of faith of whatever size or shape or brand…
Also have a role to play that has something to do with hope and purpose and making a positive difference. And something to do with a sense of community which is something that many have lost over the last number of years.

I don’t know how the conversation will go on Sunday.
I just know it is an important conversation to begin.
I don’t know what we need to do more of to create safe places.
I just know it is important that we begin.

Advent Continues – December 20

Crunch time.
December 20th.
4 days until Christmas Eve.
5 days until Christmas.
I have gifts yet to buy.
Gifts I have already bought wait to be wrapped.
There is more bread to make and grocery shopping to be done.
I rush through these days like Christmas depends on me.
And on my getting it all done…perfectly.

But, thankfully, that is not true.
Ready or not, Christmas comes;
Into the confusion and chaos of my life;
Into the heartbreak and the hope which I feel;
Into my anticipation and my searching.
Christmas comes into my life just as it is and however it is for you in this particular moment.
Maybe all we have to do…
Maybe all we can do…
Is to let it come and find its way into our hearts and lives;
Just as they are in this very moment.

December 19 – Advent Continues

Last night I made my first batch of Christmas bread.

A Christmas tradition that began 25 years ago when I first made bread with my oldest son for him to give to his teachers in school.  Every year since, I have made bread to give to teachers and to family and friends and to co-workers.
10 loaves baked last night.
Another 10 loaves sometime this weekend.

So much of our celebration of Christmas – both our preparations and how we celebrate the day – is about remembering.
Ornaments that our children made years ago hung again on the tree.
The Christmas when everyone made it home.
Lighting candles in church and singing Silent Night.
A part of my making bread is remembering standing next to my sons while they stood on the stool to knead the bread and to shape the loaves.  I remembered them as I made bread last night.

But, beyond our decorations and family traditions, can we remember one more thing? Can we remember that time in our life when God came close?
When we were stopped in our tracks by beauty?
When we were overcome by love?
When awe took our breath away?
When forgiveness healed guilt we had carried with us for too long?
When we stood face to face with another and, despite all the seeming differences between you, you knew you stood face to face with your sister or brother?

Maybe there is something about Christmas about that is about remembering this as well.

Advent Continues – December 17

Imagine

Part of the message of Advent and Christmas is not about how life and world actually are.  The past several days have shown, again, how brutal and heart breaking life can be.  But, instead, the message of Advent and Christmas is about how we imagine life and world could be.  The language of the parts of the Bible that Christians read at this time of year is symbolic and hopeful and pointing to a someday beyond the horizon of today.
Weapons of war transformed into tools that nurture and sustain.
Those in need provided for.
Nations refusing to train citizens for war.
No one living in fear.
Peace…known by one and by all.
Imagine.
The imagery here is not all pie in the sky, but taps into our deepest longings and our bravest hopes which is a part of the reason, I think, of the appeal of Christmas to so many, even to those who do not buy into the traditional Christian  understanding and practice.

The challenge we face is not our lack of imagination.
The challenge is taking those steps…
Sometimes baby steps…
From where we find ourselves today towards that which our imagination tells us just might be.  I think, too often, we get side tracked by thinking we have to have how we get from here to there all figured out before we begin.  And, because that is impossible or just too overwhelming we just mark time where we are.
But, the time for just marking time is past.

With the slaughter of the innocents last Friday in Newtown, CT the time is past for just talking about gun control and mental illness.  We may not be able to take all the steps needed at one time, but we can take one step.
And, so, too, with peace.
And, so, too, with hunger.
And, so, too, with…
You fill in the blank.

Imagine if we all took one step today…
And another one tomorrow.