Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.
-Parker J. Palmer
Happy New Year! I hope this message finds you healthy and hopeful about the future. Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes or held us with healing thoughts as my mother was hospitalized and then covid made its way to my household last week. I am happy to report that everyone is on the mend and I am feeling revitalized after a lot of rest. The intensity of this experience really brought home the reality of the pandemic and what it takes for us to restore ourselves after such trauma. While our society has focused on responding to the physical toll it is taking on all of us, much less attention has been given to its impact on the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our communities. It is likely that the trauma of this experience will continue to reverberate throughout our society in predictable and unpredictable ways for months and years to come. I would like to challenge us all to think about these long term impacts and how we can respond compassionately and proactively as a beloved community by ministering to spiritual needs within and beyond our congregation. Our prophetic imagaining, radical love, and deep liberal religious wisdom can help to guide us through this new year with courage and grace.
Our Soul Matters theme for this month is “Living with Intention.” Each month, we are invited to reflect upon a theme of religious significance together through some of our church publications, worship services, and small group activities. Parker Palmer highlights that intention is different from goals or resolutions in that it is something that arises from deep within ourselves and connects us with our purpose in life. You are invited to sit with what intentions you are discovering, naming, and embracing within this month. Instead of asking yourself about your resolution for the new year, perhaps consider what intentions are motivating, propelling, and giving shape to your life’s course. Are they your own or those of others? Is the divine or your deepest humanity speaking to you through your intentions?
Soul Matters encourages us to reflect upon some additional questions as we explore this theme: What is your intention when you wake up? Some begin the day by asking, “What do I have to get done?” Others ask, “What do I want this day to be about?” Which are you? What if it’s not about what you intend to do with life, but about what life intends to do with you? They say intention arises from within. So, what do you do to stay in touch with the fire in your belly?
Our Pastoral Care teams are available to be with you on your journey if you are in need. They are also available to help our congregation celebrate, mourn, and mark special occasions with you through our weekly newsletter and joys and sorrows shared on Sunday morning. If you are in need of confidential pastoral support or would like to share news with the congregation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you and yours a New Year of wellness, joy, and living with intention!
Yours in ministry and love,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae