4-2-21 Rev. Dave Carpenter

“Sometimes it causes me to tremble….tremble….tremble.  Were you there when they crucified my Lord.” – “Were you There” (Old African American Spiritual)

 

Today is the day we eat the bitter herbs dipped in the salt water.  Today is the day we face the depth and shame of our complicity in Jesus’ death.  We may not have been the ones hammering the nails or piercing his side with the sword, but, have no doubt, it was our fear and greed, our jealousy and resentments, our hypocrisy, judgmentalism and insecurities, that sent Jesus to the cross.  Today is a pivotal piece of the most influential and important week in human history, the central, penultimate week for us as followers of this man, Jesus of Nazareth.  In journeying along with Christ throughout this week; from the supper to the betrayal, the arrest, the denial, the trial and even to the foot of the cross for today’s crucifixion, we prepare ourselves to not just witness but take our rightful place, alongside Jesus, in the resurrection to new life and new hope on Easter morning.  By identifying with the part we play in the events and drama of this week; by allowing ourselves to contemplate where, when and in what ways, we are like Judas, Peter, Pilate, Mary, Caiaphas, Barabbas, the fickle crowd, or doubting Thomas, we allow Jesus’ story to become our story and prepare to allow Christ to come to us in a new and personal way through the resurrection.  I do hope you will join us tonight for a very special Good Friday night service at 7 PM featuring Glenn’s “7 Last Words of Christ” and then again on Sunday morning at 10 am as we not only celebrate the resurrection but participate in it, as we explore the new plans and new things God is doing inside of us as we prepare to emerge from this most bewildering and disorientating year.


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3-31-21 Rev. Lora East

“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 13: 23-26

I had been at BPC for about 3 months when I traveled to Mexico with our adult group to build a house with Amor Ministries in the fall of 2019. It doesn’t matter how many years BPC had been going, or how many stories I heard about the trip. It’s the sort of thing I just had to experience to really understand. I’ve been to Mexico before on previous mission trips, and I’ve been camping before, and I understand the dirt and exhaustion of manual labor. But this particular trip is so special to the BPC community that it was important to go so that I could have a greater understanding of the heartbeat of this Church.


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3-27-21 Dr. Charlene Jin Lee

Simple Gifts

The store manager pulled out his cell phone and dialed for me, but no answer. Maybe send a text? With his tightly purple-gloved thumbs, he quickly typed a message detailing the situation and offered me a glance for approval: hey babe, I’m here at the store and having car trouble…

I’ve never called James, babe, but these are unusual days. Perfect, I said. As he hit send, a woman behind me carrying a carton of eggs chimed in: dear, I think I have one of those battery cable things in my car; should I go to the parking garage and check?

In March 2020, two days late to the panic buying chaos, I maneuvered into a parking spot. The kind of spot you find only because everyone else decided it wasn’t worth trying. A massive HVAC duct hanging overhead, a concrete pillar and a milky white Porche inches away on either side. I had to climb out of my SUV through the trunk!


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3-26-21 Rev. Dr. Sunny Kang, United University Church (Hope on Union)

“Do not let me look on the death of my child.” Genesis 21:16

Hagar’s desperate prayer flows from the depth of a mother’s pain.

As Hagar runs out of food and water, she feels nothing but despair. Having nothing else to offer her dying son, hopelessness bleeds Hagar’s soul. As she helplessly watches the precious life drained from her cherished child she is holding in her arms, all she can do is plead for mercy. Hagar has only enough strength to ask that she is taken first so she does not have to watch her child die. 

Hagar is a used and abused woman. Hagar was an alien servant in Abraham and Sarah’s household, and she was forced to bear a child for Abraham. Her son, Ishmael, was loved and adored as Abraham’s heir until Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had her own child, Isaac. Ishmael was then cast away as a threat to Isaac’s inheritance. Hagar and Ishmael were thrown out like yesterday’s garbage.


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3-25-21 Ellie Laita, Youth Director

We had just studied Philippians in my Ladies Bible Study. Thank the Lord, because COVID had us in a grueling lockdown for six months and was taking a toll on our youth. In our discussions and sharing time, some of the students expressed anxiety and depression. They experienced difficulty focusing and feelings of hopelessness and loneliness. We were doing a study on being “All in for the Lord,” and one of the scripture readings we were using proved to be an answer to prayer. It was screaming, “I am the prescription for fear and worry.” God sent us the right words at exactly the right time!

Let me share the verse with you now. Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.”


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3-24-21 Judith Hugg

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

The pandemic has been so many bad things: murderous, unexpected (variants!), isolating, polarizing, terrifying, and so many of us have lost family, friends, neighbors to its grip. We recently lost a church friend to it; he had gotten ill, just as the life-saving vaccines were beginning to roll out. There was a profound unfairness to it. As there was a deep unfairness to the death of a young friend who last June was in the wrong place at the wrong moment, and was killed in a bike accident by a 90+ year old woman who was driving—with dementia. If our friend, or the woman, had just been 10 seconds earlier—or 10 seconds later—he would still be with his adored wife, and with us. So catastrophically unfair.


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