For our monthly worship themes I have been inviting you to consider disciplines that help us cultivate spiritual maturity: a centered way of living that has integrity, is in tune with our values and helps us see our lives as involved in something greater than ourselves. So, since September I have invited us to think of how it might be to live with a sense of Abundance, to Awaken from habit and routine, to Attend more closely to the world around us and be open to Wonder.
In January as we start a new year we are turning to a discipline that underlies all of the rest of these, and that is learning to make a Beginning. Just as a long journey begins with a single step, living with integrity requires many new beginnings. Most of the habits and ways of thinking that keep us stuck or unhappy are circuits that we keep riding around and around. There seems no way out, and there really isn’t until we take some affirmative step to get off the train. Sometimes it’s a relationship that’s dragging, or a job that is going nowhere. It could be just a vague sense of purposelessness, or swirling fears or self-hatred. We keep bouncing around like a ball on a billiard table, hoping that somehow something might change. The discipline of beginning is recognizing that the first step out of any morass is our own. Part of what we in this community offer each other is the affirmation of our inherent worth and the space to make a beginning, to come to know ourselves and each other and invite each other into wholeness.
So, a beginning that we will embark on as a congregation in the new year is reshaping how our small group ministry works so that we are focused a little more closely on that task. Our groups will center on work around our monthly themes, with material gathered from shared personal experience as well as poetry, films, TED talks, world scripture and more. You’ll find that Lisa’s column in this newsletter is focusing on this same topic.
Part of why we’re double-teaming this month is to emphasize the importance we see in building connections in our life as a community. Sunday morning worship is a place where we gather for inspiration, where we seek to name and shape that which is of greatest worth in our lives. But to integrate those values into our lives takes practice and reflection, and we do that best in each other’s company. Our small group ministry is one way that we hope you will find engaging, meaningful and fun, but we’re sure there are more. We’d love your help on this: How can we be together in ways that would make your participation in this community more meaningful, that would help you live into your hopes for this congregation and for the world? Let’s work on that.