Dear Church Community,
This quotation recently appeared in a weekly email I receive, and for some reason it stuck with me. So often, we get hung up on our expectations of the way things “should” be, and when they aren’t we feel disappointed, unhappy, even depressed. However, as our Buddhist neighbors know, it’s the attachment to specific expectations of what and how life should be that lies at the root of most suffering.
Other traditions emphasize this as well. Twelve Step Programs talk about “letting go and letting God,” which I interpret to mean releasing our belief that we can control outcomes and acknowledging it’s the job of our higher power (i.e., a power greater than ourselves).
In Christianity, humility (from the root, humus, which means “earth”) is considered a virtue. It encourages us to remember, “from earth we come and to earth we shall return.” We’re not immortal or all-knowing or all powerful (because we’re not God), and when it comes right down to it, we have very little power over the way things are.
I don’t mean to imply we should stop working for change or that we don’t have the ability to choose. But we’re not in control! And it’s when we stop resisting the reality of our life as it is that we begin to see the gifts it might have to give.
As we begin this new year:
- What expectations of what and how life “should” be no longer serve you?
- Do you think it’s your job to “make things happen?”
- What would it feel like to step back and “let God” (however you understand God) be the One in charge?
This Sunday I’ll explore the above Joseph Campbell quotation through the lens of “call” in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. What does it mean for God to call us—and how do we risk responding without knowing where it might lead?
Each season has its own gifts and challenges, and I think older adulthood can be a time rich in meaning making and self-discovery. Beginning January 31, I’ll lead an online series of six discussions centered on spirituality and aging, using The Path Ahead: Spirituality and Purpose in Later Life, a curriculum developed by Seabury Resources for Aging. We’ll explore changing spiritual needs, address issues of ageism, equip ourselves with new prayer practices, and engage in discernment about God’s continuing call. If you have questions and/or would like to participate, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Jesus in your life? This winter the FaithLife Group will read and discuss Diana Butler Bass’s new book, Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence. Here’s a short description: “Diana’s secular friends often ask her “How can you still be a Christian?” In the book, she explains that her experience of Jesus has changed over the years, viewing him in different ways at different times. Though she is still a Christian, she isn’t the same kind of Christian she used to be, or that they may think she is. Freeing Jesus explores the many images of Jesus we encounter and embrace through a lifetime—and how we make theology from the text of our lives in conversation with scripture and tradition. Freeing Jesus invites us to liberate Jesus and free ourselves when it comes to the ever-compelling, yet often-elusive figure at the center of Christian faith.” The group will meet once a month online or in hybrid mode, Sundays from 5:30-7 pm. For the schedule, email Dan at email@example.com.
Our congregation relies on the time, talent, and treasure of members and friends to create our beloved community. If you have an hour or so a month to help out, please consider the following:
Two members of our congregation need a ride to and from worship one Sunday a month. They both live on Connecticut Ave, relatively close to the church. We have a roster of drivers, and just need one more person. Please contact Trish at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Jane Glass and David Grimsted care for our church grounds every weekend. If you could help them garden for an hour or two or three each month, it would be much appreciated. No experience necessary! Just email Mary Jane at email@example.com.