Good morning First Parish friends. I send you a big air hug, as Liz has taught us to do. We’ll be back in our balcony perch before long, but I miss seeing all your faces.
John and I signed the book in 1988, thirty-three years ago, and First Parish has been an anchor in our lives – raising lively children, empty nesting, losing parents, greeting grandchildren – the full circle of life, which, in my case, has involved bouts of depression when the complexities of family laid me flat.
I started regularly attending summer services in 2002, when my mother was dying, and I needed the quiet hour to re-collect myself.
COVID has brought similar challenges. Beth said several weeks ago, in times of uncertainty, ritual grounds us. Lighting the chalice, in our remote sanctuaries, speaking Paul Sawyer’s marvelous chalice response, Spirit of Life, our benediction, these are rituals I can count on, and unlike the rituals of the Episcopalian Church in which I grew up, they don’t ask me to say things I don’t believe.
The annual pledge is a similar ritual, which ties us together and to this church.
I’ve always been interested in knowing how organizations work, so knowing First Parish’s budget and knowing the size of our congregation helps John and me figure where we belong in the pledging spectrum. We try to give at a level that feels good, that reflects the importance of First Parish in our lives and, we hope, enables us to regularly grow our commitment.
I encourage you to look into what is the right level for you. This is an important part of my life, and I expect in yours as well if you’re watching right now. We’re in a stream of humanity that has made it a priority to keep this place going.
Happy morning, and I look forward to seeing your real faces before long.