Reflection 3/1/15

The month of February has felt very discombobulated to me. I am glad it is March. I hope that the ratio of snow to melting will now turn more towards melting and less towards snow, although for the sake of our homes, I hope that the melt is slow.

Part of my discombobulation was having to cancel worship services two Sundays in a row. As slushy as it was, I was very glad to see everyone who could make it in these last two Sundays for either the morning or evening services. I know many of you were still iced or snowed in and could not risk the drive and I appreciate that you put safety first. I offer my appreciations to Edith Murphy for organizing our parking lot shuttle, to John Schneider and Neil Harmon for being our drivers, and to all of you who gave it a try. Although we did have a front loader and a dump truck come and remove a lot of the snow from our lot, our parking is still constrained so I continue to encourage us to try out the shuttle system.

In the midst of preparing for this past Sunday's evening service, I came across this reflection on Lent by Unitarian Universalist minister Clarke Dewey Wells from his 1975 Lenten manual, The Strangeness of this Business: "I think the liturgical tradition of Lent is a gift, a garment for storm, survival apparel. Our individual dying's and Bea Cummings are given a voice, wisdom, companionship in a story and a heritage larger than the isolation and pain of our unconnected cells. We don't have to be religious or Christian to enter into Lent, only human. Since we're all in the club, I invite you to join me in traversing the season of faith, self-examination, and hope." As I read this, I thought we certainly could use some garments for the storm, apparel for survival. It has been that kind of winter, where a Lenten season has almost beenimposed upon me. The snowstorms have provided me an opportunity to slow down and do a bit more thinking and reflecting that I normally have time for, and in between all the shoveling and having to wear boots and coats and hats and scarves to go outside for even a few minutes, I found the reflective time to be helpful. But it's also been a bit disconnecting. That is why I realize that leading worship and being part of a worshiping community is so important to me. It is in worship, in the celebration of, lifting up, and naming what is worthy of my deepest commitment and loyalty, that I am reconnected with the sacred ties that bind me to the people I love, to the rest of the human community, to the creation, to the larger Love I call God, to the voice and wisdom and companionship of a larger story and a larger heritage. As I told the youth in our coming-of-age program last Sunday, the word religion shares its root with the word ligament, and is about the re-tying and the re-connecting with what matters most, what is most deeply held, worthy of our commitment and loyalty, with what gives us life.

So as I pause in the season of Lent to reflect on what sustains my faith and offers me hope in traversing life and all its storms, I offer my sincere and deepest gratitude to all of you for being our community of worship, for giving me the great privilege of leading with you, creating with you, singing and dancing with you, praying and meditating with you, bearing witness with you to the sacred ties that bind us together.

In faith,
Rev. Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133