From the Minister
I’m writing this just before Thanksgiving following one of my fullest weekend’s as your minister. Friday evening, when I’m usually at home for Shabbat with Michele, was devoted to co-leading the White Fragility workshop that drew 35 participants. Saturday, my normal day off, was filled with our Board Retreat. Sunday included our worship service, a rich Congregational Conversation about music at CVUUS, a thought-provoking pastoral hour with a congregant growing out of the White Fragility workshop, and greeting 8 Cuerdas, a group of talented musicians from Burlington who had rented our amazing Sanctuary for a late afternoon concert. (I let them know we would love to have them back as part of worship some day).
By Sunday night, I felt I had repeatedly lived the lesson of that Sunday’s sermon: what we need is here.
. For example, the Board Retreat started with a ritual in which each of us wrote down a gift we believed we had on a card, swapped cards with a partner, and discussed our gifts with them. Partners then recounted each others gifts to the group. As each gift was named, we placed a stone representing it on the table with our chalice in the center of our circle. A true “what we need is here” plus moment! Who we are blessed to be among is here.
Some of us struggle to name our character gifts. I took it easy at the Board retreat, writing down the first thing that came to mind instead of trying to identify what gift I most treasure. I wrote down “confident curiosity.” And it’s true – I’ve always been attracted both to new experiences and re-examining what I’ve learned from past ones. I usually emerge with energizing sensations and wider horizons. Sometimes I find a “Wow!”
As I look ahead to December, it strikes me that my gift is a form of the Christmas message. The story of the birth of Jesus, child of God and humans, is a story of Creation saying to us, “However you enter the world and however vulnerable you might be, you have a relationship with Love that bends the universe toward compassion, justice, beauty, and eternal life.” May you be curious about your path through that vision of reality; may you be confident that what – and who – you need to embrace the good in it is here,
Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby