pastoral words

27 . October . 2012

careful, helpful words from david bisgrove:

Dear Friends,
By now you have heard of the terrible tragedy that occurred on Thursday night on the UWS.  Like you, Alice and I have wrestled with a range of emotions since we learned what happened, and our hearts are broken for the parents of the murdered children. I am writing this note to help us collectively process and support one another in light of what has happened in our neighborhood.  In caring for one another and dealing with our own shock and grief, there are several ways in which we can respond as a Christian community:
We can pray (Eph. 6:18).  At times like this where words fail me, I rely on the most honest definition of prayer I know, which is laying our helplessness before God.  Pray for the parents and extended family. Pray also for those in the school community and surrounding neighborhood who are dealing with the shock and grief of this tragedy.  Pray against the evil that led to this tragedy, that God would protect our community from fear and despair in our response to such evil. 
We can grieve.  Our grief reminds us that we ‘wrestle not against flesh and blood’ (Eph. 6:12).  It allows us to identify with our suffering neighbors who have lost so much.  We mourn with those who mourn (Romans 15:15) in order to, in some small way, enter into their pain.
We can hope.  There is always a danger that grief can turn into despair and paralyzing fear.  The antidote for that is the hope of the resurrection. We must remind ourselves in our conversations with one another that ‘death has been swallowed up in victory’ (I Cor. 15:54).  And as we remind one another of the reality that God will one day wipe away every tear, we can help our neighbors with the message of hope.  
In other words, we can love.  The hope of the resurrection means our ‘labor is not in vain’ (I Cor 15:58).  This doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, or that we understand what happened that night.  But the hope that we have in the resurrection that we will live eternally in the presence of God allows the Body of Christ to live out the powerful and simple phrase of Jesus – ‘love your neighbor’ (Mark 12:31).   So comfort, listen to, weep with, share meals and other kindnesses, and offer hope to – your friends and neighbors – as together we seek to bind up our collective wounds in the healing love of Christ Jesus.
With shared grief,

West Side Congregation | Redeemer Presbyterian Church


lament & community

26 . October . 2012

words seem offensive on the page in such a
time of grief and tragedy.

as we collectively put one foot in front of the
other today, a few scriptures/words come to mind
as we process and pray for the
family on w 75th, the nanny,
the community, ps87 community,
our communities and our children:

lament = mourning, expressing deep grieving

we grieve.
and ultimately we hope.

Psalms of (community) lament:
12, 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 90, 94, 123, 126, 129

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
-Isaiah 40:1, 10, 11 ESV

‘shared grief isolates the sharers from each other. though united in
that we are grieving, we grieve differently…They dynamics of each
person’s sorrow must be allowed to work themselves out without judgment.
I may find it strange that you should be tearful today but dry-eyed
yesterday when my tears were yesterday.’
– nicholas wolterstorff, ‘lament for a son’. eerdmans, 1987.

may Christ comfort us today, deep in our hearts,
may our presence together bring Christ’s comfort to the
sidewalks and playgrounds today & always,

with sobs and with sober hope in Christ,


25 . October . 2012

i know we’re all barely breathing tonight.

as our hearts are rent open
for the neighborhood family on w75th st
who have suffered unimaginable tragedy,

and stacy recently pointed me to
2 corinthians 1:5

‘for as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings,
so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.’

and reminded me that
as we live in this world,
we suffer loss…

and our hearts groan,

but Jesus comforts us.

and then gives us the
inestimable privilege
of comforting each other.

weeping on 70th,


17 . October . 2012

a shout out on today:


new city catechism

10 . October . 2012

joint adult + children’s catechism?

sign. us. up!! – ipad app – free download

parenting seminar on nov 9th

6 . October . 2012

please join patricia & i for a
parenting seminar

section 1: teaching kids to listen & follow instructions
section 2: correction ideas that touch the heart
section 3: a toolbox of consequences
section 4: ending discipline times with impact

paying attention

7 . August . 2012

paying attention in a distracted world:
it’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight.

– james shelley


i lurve him.