January 2017

“Awaken your spirit to adventure; / Holding nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, / For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

From “For a New Beginning” by John O’Donohue

Happy New Year, Beloveds!

A wise and interesting colleague engages in this exercise about once a week, via Facebook poll, “in only 8 words tell me something…you’re grateful for, you hope for, a lesson you learned over the past year, a favorite memory, something you plan to commit to…” – you get the idea.

His eternal optimism in asking a group of ministers to respond “in 8 words” always makes me smile. Some of us do, and it’s great fun to see my colleagues’ profound thoughts in clever 8-word sentences. Many responses exceed the 8-word limit, and while there may be a respectful reminder of the expectation, there is never scolding or judgment. The power of the exercise is in the invitation to examination, and in the way he holds a safe communal space for our individual reflections.

At its best, congregational life is exactly like this: a safe communal space where we willingly gather for examination of and reflections on our individual lives and the ways we are connected to that which matters, beyond ourselves. It is a privilege and blessing to have, and to be, such trusted companions on the great adventure of life!

May our new year together be filled with adventures, with risks, and with rhythms that calm us at times and stir us at others. May we commit to meaningful opportunities for sharing, listening, and witnessing one another’s unfolding stories and connections to a life writ large in which we hold nothing back. I am glad to be on this adventure with you.

In our faith.

Rev. Carmen Emerson