My first reflection last July was about our vision for the Church and Meetinghouse moving forward. It was the one where I daringly put out the dry erase board in the hall and we all wrote down our vision for the next few months, the year, five years, and ten years. Those thoughts and reflections reminded us of what’s important collectively and helped inform the profile for a new minister.
I am not planning to go in quite that same direction today, but it is going to inform where I do go, but first: as I was skimming through that reflection I came across this excerpt that I loved so much I thought it would be lovely to repeat it today:
“My favorite reflection recently was Nate’s reflection on what this church and community means to him. I don’t think I was the only one. I remember listening to him and thinking:
- Wow, that’s beautiful. Just what we need to hear.
- Wouldn’t it be lovely to do a series on what this church and community and space means to each of us. And not just those who show up on Sunday. All of us. Those who “just” come or work at the Holly Fair, those who “just” come for Christmas Eve and Easter, this who “just” come for yoga or the 5K, those who “just” come to a supper (or pot luck).
I remember we all talked a lot after Nate’s reflection. There were little groups talking and inspired and reminded of why we love this little building.
It was beautiful. Connecting.”
Connection: that is what this space and the people in this space means to me. Whether that’s in the sanctuary, the hall, or the upstairs. Whenever I am here I feel a sense of connection to my fellow people whether it’s Sunday Service, Coffee Hour, yoga, a pot luck, a fair or a race—even when I am here alone. I feel a sense of connection to sacred space. I feel a sense of connection to something more: love, hope, and peace—the sacred. The divine. God. I love people and the boisterousness that comes with gatherings together and I love quiet, sacred space to sit in stillness and ponder the Mystery (and sometimes the very real struggles of living).
This is one of the reasons that even though I try to give us something to think about a ponder on my reflections, (I don’t want them to be trite or superficial or oblivious to world around us), but I try to keep them uplifting. I feel like this is a space to challenge our thinking, or to get us thinking in different and bigger ways (that’s the beauty of community: we don’t all think the same), but I don’t feel like we want to be reminded every Sunday of the things that make us feel…hopeless and small—it seems we have enough of this is our day to day media. I want to explore how can we connect in a disconnected world and how can we do good in a world that feels so big and out of our control? For me, this happens by coming together (Sundays and other gatherings), pooling time and resources, and doing small goods acts that spread.
Last July, I challenged you to think about what this community means to you after hearing Nate’s beautiful words about what it meant to him. I gave you some of my feelings: my love of the history and community, watching new ideas and visions unfold. We thought about creating communal short term goals and long term goals. During coffee hour we kept discussing and filled out the board.
Now, here’s my question for you:
What does this space and people mean to you? Just you. On your personal spiritual journey.
Take a moment, close your eyes, what comes up?
What “nurtures” your faith?
–Perhaps it’s coming closer to Jesus? Learning who Jesus us and emulating His way of being in the world?
–Perhaps connecting to friends who teach us and challenge us and support us?
–Perhaps it is the stories or Word of the Bible.
–Perhaps it is the Sunday rituals of lighting candles, breaking bread together, or gathering as One.
–Perhaps your faith leans a little bit more spiritual consciousness, but is fed by Sunday moments with Christ and community.
–Perhaps it is the Coffee Hour, the community, the pot luck, yoga, learning from one another.
–Perhaps you rarely make it to Sunday service but are still fed just by knowing the sacred space is here when you need it.
–The balancing act of joyful gathering and quiet reflection
What feeds your spirit? What do you seek in sacred space and sacred community. What’s been missing for you, personally, in over nearly a year without a consistent minister to sustain the space?
Around the corner, we hope and pray, is a new minister. How would you like that new minister to support your faith? We can best support a minister by knowing more clearly what our needs and desires are regarding our faith. Do you want to be offered answers or guided to find answers on your own. Do you want something completely different? Are you not sure (that’s a very valid answers to these ponderings)?
Where are you strong in your faith or journey? Where are you weak and in need of support? Where do you need the support of minister, or one another, or both?
Where are you now? Where would you like to be? What’s missing? What’s being filled/nourished?
How would a minister support you on your journey? What are you looking forward to, or in need of, when the new minister arrives to support and guide?
There are no right or wrong answers. Just answers. This isn’t a quiz, it’s a self exploration. With a new minister around the corner, how best can our faith be supported. Maybe you know it in your heart, but not with your words. Maybe you know clearly what you seek, but have never voiced it. Maybe you know, and have voiced, what it is you need to be supported. Regardless, it’s always nice to check in. We evolve. We change. Maybe what we needed last year is very different from this year.
How best can your faith be supported?
On the flip side, how best can we support a new minister moving forward…but…maybe that’s a reflection for another week.
For now, how is your faith nourished? Yes, by God. Yes, by Jesus. But who on Earth supports you? What on Earth supports you? How is your Faith nourished?