For the gardeners among us, the lengthening days and spring snow portend the coming days of digging in the dirt and waiting for new life
to emerge. That is the image that comes to mind as I think of this month’s theme, emergence. The word comes from the the Latin emergere, to bring to light. Gardens easily remind us that much happens in the darker places found below the surface.
Emergence for us, then, is an invitation to look more deeply than that which is visible to us in this moment. It is an invitation to risk our way into a bigger becoming. As C.S. Lewis wrote: “You cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
In this time of hiding more Easter eggs than are found, that may be a risky metaphor. Perhaps we are more safely guided by John O’Donohue’s poetry. These words are found in his Blessing for a New Beginning:
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
I especially love those lines because they remind me that not all new beginnings are what I plan. Sometimes circumstances conspire to prevent me from seeing ways in which I am shifting. Suddenly, I can be (and have been) caught off-guard by some new thing I want to pursue or to which I need to pay attention. I think of my call to minister, as well as my call to this church. I hadn’t been planning to change careers or churches. And then, all of a sudden it seemed, I was conscious that there had indeed been something quietly forming in me. I then had decisions to make. Would I ignore this new part of me waiting/wanting to emerge or would I let myself bloom?
Really, a similar sort of thing has happened in our church. Jefferson Unitarian Church was formed in 1959. It has gone about the business of holding Sunday worship services, teaching kids, offering pastoral care and programming, and tending to the administrative and governance needs. We answered the challenge to focus on our mission and to better welcome visitors. In large measure, we are still that young church taking care of business and meeting new challenges. As stewardship consultant, Kay Crider, wrote we “are already more than 800 members strong, and have demonstrated that [we] know how to do large church well and maintain those community bonds.”
It is easy to feel like we are indeed a decent egg – to feel we have arrived. And yet, I believe that as we have simply been going about our business, a new beginning has been forming in us. What is emerging or being brought to light is the capacity of this church to make a difference not only in the lives of people who already attend here, but in our county and denomination by Making Room for not only what we want but what we want for the congregation yet to be and for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Decisions about what we will do about this potential that has been quietly forming as JUC went about its business, will be made by our congregation. Please participate. Keep visiting makingroom.jeffersonunitarian.org
. Stop by the table in the commons on Sunday. And please, please plan to attend our Special Congregational meeting on Sunday, April 15 at 12:30 p.m.
I am so grateful to serve with and among you in this exciting time.