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Weekly Words for the Journey

To My Beloved PBBC Community

I share with you these words of Peter W. Marty
from the June 17, 2020 issue of The Christian Century

“Conspiracy theories do not present the best face of contemporary culture.
The people behind them hatch sinister plots and disseminate cruel disinformation…
Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a flurry of conspiracy theories.
Such theories tend to thrive in times of uncertainty and crisis,
and the coronavirus has provided the perfect backdrop for some crazy ideas.
If conspiracies are here to stay…we in the church ought to retrieve
a deeper meaning to that word conspiracy.
John Courtney Murray liked to use the term to describe
the beautiful collaboration among people who are filled with the spirit of God.
The root of the word conspire means ‘breathe together.’
…we might think of the Pentecost story as a true conspiracy:
not some evil design or sinister gathering, but a consensus for good.
The coronavirus is giving us all a fresh reason to band together
and breathe goodness into a chaotic world.”

I’ve never really been one for conspiracy theories, but I like this different way of imagining them. As the pandemic continues, I am grateful for the gradual phased reopening taking place here in our state as we seem to be moving in the right direction. And yet I am increasingly mindful of friends and family, neighbors and strangers in other parts of the country who are facing new surges of the virus, and renewed fears for public health and safety. More than ever before, in Peter Marty’s words, we need to “band together and breathe goodness into a chaotic world.”

As we “conspire” to be the church and do our ministry with an abundance of caution, what a joy and blessing it has been to begin “Bridging the Gap” and gathering in our small prayer circles. The words above so perfectly describe what we are doing…forming a beautiful collaboration among people who are filled with the spirit of God. Thank you for joining in our collaboration; thank you for wearing masks and social distancing; and for those who have not been here in person yet, thank you for being present with us in thought, in prayer, and mostly in love.

In order to protect and respect one another, we will continue recording worship services this summer, and we will gather together in small groups as long as it continues to feel safe. As the pace and demands of ministry increase, my weekly words may soon have to become “Every Other Weekly Words,” but know that all of you form a beautiful collaboration within my heart, and I trust that we will band together and breathe together, filling the world with God’s spirit.

Conspiring with you to share goodness, grace and gratitude,
Pastor Claudine