January 2019

To the New Year:

With what stillness at last                          so this is the sound of you
you appear in the valley                            here and now whether or not
your first sunlight reaching down              anyone hears it this is
to touch the tips of a few                           where we have come with our age
high leaves that do not stir                        our knowledge such as it is
as though they had not noticed                 and our hopes such as they are
and did not know you at all                        invisible before us
then the voice of a dove calls                    untouched and still possible
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

We begin a new year in the cold of winter, with “our hopes such as they are, untouched and still possible.” What might it mean to approach each day, each challenge, each opportunity or challenge we encounter, with a new eye to what is possible? Maybe you are someone who does that on a regular basis. I tend the think of myself as pragmatic. A “possibilities-first” outlook is sometimes a challenge. January’s theme is possibility. What is possible for us, the USNF congregation, together? What is our vision of our role in the community? How we can be true to our values, our faith, our need for spiritual growth and inspiration, and the work the world is crying for us to do? 2019, like 2015, is a more formal “strategic planning” year. Many of you shared your ideas by filling out last month’s survey. I hope you’ll be able to attend one or more of the listening circles in January. The Climate Action Group has already been developing ideas for a year of discernment and greater impact, with a kick-off in February. There will be many opportunities for all of us in the coming year to imagine, dream, and explore possibilities together.

I’ve decided to challenge myself with a new spiritual practice beginning in January. A possibility practice, like the gratitude practice some people observe. I’ll try to take a moment, before the day’s activities begin, to ask myself what possibilities I see for the day ahead. I’m curious to see what might emerge. If you feel inspired to try it too, I invite you to let me know, and, if you’d like, to share what you learn. As 2019 begins, I remain grateful and blessed to serve as your minister.

Janets signature