We each have a blessing to bring to this world. We spend our lives discovering and then offering this blessing. And yet along the way, we run into obstacles, things that prevent us from being our fullest, best selves.
This is the work of the church - to help us see and overcome these obstacles, and then support us in blessing the world. These obstacles are often quite tangible: an illness, an injury, a lost job, a lost relationship, overwhelming grief. Or as our friends in the Springs know all too well right now: a wildfire threatens you and your home.
What is our role - as a religious community - when our members find themselves facing these kinds of difficult times? We are not social workers. We are not medical professionals. We are not family. We are not even simply friends - for often we are called to care for someone whose name we do not even know, or who we are not sure we have actually ever met. When life puts obstacles in our paths, as a religious community we are called to witness to & embody the love that holds all of us and will not let any of us go. We are called to be the Beloved Community.
We do this by reaching out and saying: “We see you.We love you. We are holding you in our thoughts and prayers.” We write and send Caring Cards. We visit members who are in the hospital or unable to leave their home. We provide emergency shelter when members have been evacuated. We give financially to support in economic strain. We coordinate and provide meals and rides. We listen to one another, without agenda.
When life happens - we as your spiritual community want to know. We want to be with you, and we want to help you know there is a circle of care around you beyond your own choosing, more than a collection of individuals. And so we ask you to let us know. In turn, our promise is to respond, and to embody that greater love. We promise to find those Caring Cards in the social hour, and sign even those whose names we do not recognize. We promise to listen deeply in the Joys and Concerns, and hold each story in our hearts. As we are able, we promise to join the Parish Visitor program or the Emergency Response Team. We promise to provide meals or rides to each other as we can.
And most of all, we promise to reach out to one another in social hour, in small groups, in choir, in committee meetings - remembering to ask, to see, to hold each other - strengthened by a love that will not let any of us go.