As we begin this Lenten period, we have much to be grateful for. My prayer is that we not spend these 40 gift-filled days only giving things up, or not doing things we enjoy, or “fasting” from having things. Rather, let us enter into these days by also acknowledging our gifts in life. Let us recognize God’s movement and acceptance of who we are, and the joy with which everything is given to us. This may sound simple, but it is hard work. This means we “give up” gossip, overeating, criticizing ourselves and each other, drinking too much, complaining, and not communicating with people. On the other hand, we take care of our bodies and spirits, and reach out to each other. None of us is in this life alone.
The following words from my friend Maria Cristina come to mind as I ponder how the whole Visioning process has been for us these past few months:
“Wishing you time to embrace you whole beautiful self,
to celebrate your journeys,
to nourish your creativity,
to reimagine possibilities,
to reaffirm your true calling,
to reach out when it gets tough and lonely,
to bring good medicine into your heart in the form of
forgiveness, compassion, letting go, humility and laughter,
to trust that you deserve unconditional love,
to know that you are loved,
to feel that you are loved.
You are loved. You are loved. You are loved!”
Rev. Maria Cristina Burgoa Vlassidis
As a Visioning Team and as UCH Congregation, we have worked hard - we prayed, discussed, imagined, gave opinions, sang, listened, heard, and did our best to be honest and open to where we are being called. What is most important to remember is that we are all invested in this journey together. With God’s grace and our faith in each other we will take the Lord’s hand and go where we are led. So, my dear ones, have Faith. We walk together, guided by a God who loves us as we are, while always encouraging us to be more of that Divine Presence with and for one another. – Chris L.