March 2017

Dear Beloved Congregation,

        This newsletter arrives a few days into the Lenten season, an important tradition in the Christianity that is a part of our theological heritage, and remains important for many UUs. As The Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells once wrote, “We don’t have to be ‘religious’ or ‘Christian’ to enter into Lent, only human. Since we’re all in that club I invite you to join me in traversing together this season of faith, examination, and hope.”

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter Sunday, Lent is commonly misunderstand to be a time of “abstinence” – as evidenced by the question, “What have you given up for Lent?” I find more challenge and meaning in Wells’ invitation into a season of faith, examination, and hope, and very much appreciate this annual UU Lenten project established by UU leaders Mr. Barb Greve and Karen Bellevance-Grace:

“Rather than a practice of self-denial,” they write, the Season of Lent can be a time spent “engaged in a spiritual discipline of deep intention and appreciation of our world, our place in it and an openness to Grace in our daily lives.” Barb and Karen have created the UU Lent Photo-a-Day project, asking UUs to capture an image reflecting their daily meditations on these words:

3/1 quiet, 3/2 surrender, 3/3 courage, 3/4 love, 3/5 partnership, 3/6 rest, 3/7 creativity, 3/8 vulnerability, 3/9 prayer, 3/10 persistence, 3/11 music, 3/12 resilience, 3/13 friendship, 3/14 play, 3/15 fear, 3/16 passion, 3/17 strength, 3/18 wonder, 3/19 sanctuary, 3/20 solitude, 3/21 curiosity, 3/22 suffering, 3/23 engagement, 3/24 ally, 3/25 blessing, 3/26 mercy, 3/27 dreams, 3/28 beauty, 3/29 mistakes, 3/30 dance, 3/31 memory, 4/1 freedom, 4/2 understanding, 4/3 inspiration, 4/4 sacred, 4/5 loneliness, 4/6 help, 4/7 support, 4/8 awe, 4/9 hospitality, 4/10 heart, 4/11 art, 4/12 doubt, 4/13 worship, 4/14 peace, 4/15 faith and on 4/16, Easter Sunday, the word is rejoice.

Even if you do not engage in the daily photograph, I encourage you to make time for a daily meditation – however brief – on each of these words, and what they mean to you as a faithful and grateful Unitarian Universalist engaged in our shared work of examination and hope.

In our faith,

Rev. Carmen Emerson