Spirituality

December – From the Minister

On a Wednesday evening here, we sat in a circle, about eight people, very quiet, very still. It was a perfect silence, companioned and deliberate. We heard the rain outside, clattering softly into sleet. We heard cars on the road. We heard a distant dog. We heard someone laughing in the Social Hall. We heard the heat come roaring on. We heard the choir practicing, and the clamor of chatter and farewells. We heard children racing in the hallways, and the clink and clank of dishes in the kitchen. These were not intrusions, just signals of our common life, its right location in the midst of...

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November – From the Minister

I am terrible at remembering people’s names. When I first meet someone, I try and try, I know all the tricks, but until I see their name and their face and put the two together several times, I am likely to forget. The name. Not the person. Because I am actually really good at faces. Once I’ve seen someone and spoken with them, once I’ve noticed something significant about you, I will remember you. If you show me a piece of yourself, I will remember you. It’s one of the complexities of work like mine, relational work, where what matters is how you know people, and how they know you. I...

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October – From the Minister

More and more I have come to admire resilience. Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side, it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true. But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers, mitochondria, figs—all this resinous, unretractable earth. These lines from Jane Hirschfield are from her poem, “Optimism, ” which is no sunshiny, easy thing in these darkening, disturbing times. Optimism, hope, resilience—these are hard choices in harsh days, religious...

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September – From the Minister

The Sanctuary is quiet as I write this afternoon, nothing moving in the woods beyond the great window facing east, the steady oaks and cottonwood still sparkling from the drenching rain that came at last this morning. No deer today, no Cooper’s Hawk, none of the monarchs that have come back to us in golden clouds this summer, flashing hope around the milkweed near the stream. It’s quiet here today, as if the house were waiting for its people to come home. The room is rarely empty, though, even in the summer now, this sacred space we cherish, this home we call our own. Yesterday guests...

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Summer 2018 – From the Minister

In her extraordinary and prescient sci-fi novels, The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler wrote about a beautiful, dystopian word, like and yet unlike our own, and set in what was, at the time, the not-toodistant future: the early decades of the 21st century. Writing more than 30 years ago, Butler saw with eerie clarity what for her was not far-fetched to imagine, the rise of a boorish tyrant in the midst of American uncertainty, numbing the people with platitudes and terrifying them with reckless, ego-laced, crude, cruelty. One of the books’ most intriguing...

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May – From the Minister

This is the sixth year in a row that I’ve had to say goodbye to a community I’ve grown to love. And every time is as hard as the last. At the end of things, I think, “I’ll never love anyone as much as I love this community. ” And every time I am wrong. I spend the summer grieving and then begin again discovering the stories and dreams and heartaches of those I am with—and in this I love them. My heart is broken open again, perhaps a little more each time, and in gratitude I add my voice to the song of another beloved community. One of my favorite movies, and a family Christmas...

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