…from the pastor

…from the pastor

Dear Friends,
We are starting to see the slightest signs of spring. In between the days of gusting
winds, snow and sleet we get glimpses of what is coming. There is some learning and skills in
being able to see these signs. It reminds me of this quote from Thoreau:

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids,
but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our
soundest sleep.” -Walden

It is not by chance that this season in the “church year” is Lent. It is that time leading up
to Easter where we come out of the dark, cold winter and prepare for the celebration of Easter.
I am not one of those pastors that thinks Lent should be about beating ourselves up spiritually
for 40 days. That’s not the best use of this season. This season is about deliberately entering
into a time of reflection and contemplation, a time to ask the deep and profound questions about
our lives, our purpose, our place in this world. It is a time for Wandering.

For over the past year I have been thinking about wandering as a spiritual practice. It
seems to me that many (if not most) of us do it anyway and we might not have thought much
about it. I see wandering as a much different thing than being lost. Wandering is a deliberate
and intentional engagement with whatever is stirring in our souls and expecting that through
attentive engagement with the world around us, God can lead us to insights and guidance.

Through this period of Lent I am going to be spending some time focusing on the idea
and practice of wandering. I will focus on it during my Sunday messages and we will have a
“Lenten Study” on the last four Sundays in Lent (March 24th, 31st, April 7th and April 14th).
These studies will take place for an hour right after Sunday morning worship. We will have food
(something like soup and sandwiches) and then spend some time reflecting on some writings
and then talking, thinking and sharing our own ideas and experiences about wandering.

So I invite you…first to embrace this time of Lent as a time to ask, seek, knock and
wander. Second, I invite you to participate in the many activities of Grace UCC at this time. You
will experience a warm welcome and we would be so happy to have you with us. So blessings
to you all and may your eyes, ears and hearts be tuned to the awakening of Spring.

Pastor Phil