January, like September, returns us to routine while carrying a feeling of newness. We may not all make formal goals or resolutions. Yet, few among us do not harbor some hidden hope for something we hope to do, change, acquire or experience this year. Maybe as we are semi-consciously forming our plans of who we will become and the life we will lead, we would be wise to remember Charles Bukowski’s question, “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
January’s theme of integrity – the practice of living undivided – invites us to do just that. Who are you at your core? What are your values?
As So-Young Kang offered in a Huffington Post article, integrity is a word often misused and its fullness ignored. Integrity derives from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete. Thus, it requires an inner sense of ‘wholeness’ and consistency of character. When you are in integrity, people should be able to visibly see it through your actions, words, decisions, methods, and outcomes. When you are ‘whole’ and consistent, there is only one you. You bring that same you wherever you are, regardless of the circumstance. You don’t leave parts of yourself behind.
With so many demands upon us, this can be daunting. Where do we get to practice being whole?
I’m grateful to say that our church is one such place. Specifically, our Going Deeper groups. Certainly such groups are a great chance to meet a smaller segment of our church, as well as experience the group’s wisdom on each theme. Yet, more than that, these groups give you a chance to speak from your soul (heart/inner wholeness) rather than your role (parent or job title).
I participate in two such groups myself each month with ministers from elsewhere in the country. It gives us a chance to be and share and discover and uncover who we are and who we were before and beyond ministry. We get to interrogate our own living to name where we may be falling short of living whole and consistent.
The stories of how this ministry has shaped and moved people are bountiful. Yet, they are not mine to share. More to the point, I would rather you hear from the people in our congregation who have benefitted from “Going Deeper.” To that end, once a month, one of our Chalice Lightings will be offered by a Going Deeper participant. You won’t want to miss it.
Here’s to a year of wholeness where we celebrate each of us and all that each of us brings.
Happy New Year!