she celebrated the sacrament of letting go
first surrendered her green
then the orange, yellow and red
finally she let go of her brown
shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust...
from Seasons of the Heart by Macrina Wiederkehr
submitted by congregant Bill Rixon
Some of us love winter. Some of us love the winter holidays, the lights, the food, the family times. We love cross-country skiing, snowfall on pine trees, brooding storm clouds, the ducks in the half-frozen river. We love sweaters, boots, hot chocolate, reason to make soup and eat bread. We love snow forts, snowball fights, and snuggling into bed early and late, just as the sun does at this time of year. For those of us who love winter, we could sail through January on the wings of epiphany as we've explored it at First U - seeing the magic and mystery in the season, and in one another. We've been filled up by exploration of our shadow side, and our heroes, revived by quiet time, and reflection. We're getting ready to go ice skating on the pond, leaning into winter, secure in our vigil, our season, of trust.
Some of us are more like my daughter, Madelin. Madelin is 6. She wants you to know that it's 19 1/2 weeks until she gets to move to the beach. She spent last Saturday getting her older brothers to help her count. Then she went to pack her bags. She has ready a stash of t-shirts, shorts and bikini bathing suits, none of which will fit her by the time June rolls around, but that is of little consequence. Madelin has a summer spirit, a deep longing to run forever bare-footed, with only the lightest clothes skimming over her sun-warmed skin. She faces February the only way she knows how, packed and ready for it to be far, far behind her.
Whatever your spirit tells you about February in Maine, know that at church we'll be marking the month with a unique combination of celebration, exploration and reflection. For those of us who need a little infusion of warmth we'll be celebrating love and generosity in our worship services throughout February. And, we'll have a chance to celebrate our love for one another and for our church community, as well as practice our generosity, by attending our Heart In Hand wine tasting and live auction on Saturday, February 12th. This event will be full of light, laughter, good friends and good fun. It's open to all, and another way to fill up our Gathering Room with purpose and hope, as we set that welcome table and sit down to enjoy the feast. If you are feeling a bit blue in this season, we'll do our best to cheer you up, hold you close, and help you look forward and inward to that eternal spring that's always possible in loving community.
For those of us who find the season easy to embrace, both for it's winter-time fun and it's chance to reflect, discuss, and rejuvenate, we're also exploring sabbath and sabbatical this month. What does it mean to mark a time in each week as our sabbath? How can sabbath bring hope, help and healing at crucial times in our lives? We've granted our Director of Religious Education (DRE) a sabbatical for the 2011-2012 church year - What does this mean for both our DRE and our church community? How will it infuse all of us with new ideas, energy and opportunity? Join us at the Mid-Year Meeting on January 30th to begin the exploration, and follow Channels and this blog for more opportunities to reflect on what it means to rest, keep trust, and be reinvigorated by letting go.