I have seen some of you when I have snuck into the back pews after worship has formally begun, but I wanted to officially say HELLO! And THANK YOU! My sabbatical was amazing! I was with cherished friends and family, I was in the midst of so much beauty, I started to write a sermon about it! (If you are curious, please come on to the Flower Communion on June 4th). It was great to read books that weren’t related to a sermon or current event; and it was outstanding to be outside so much of the time.
I hear people say that the world has gotten so small, because of social media, but this sabbatical allowed me to enjoy the largeness and largess of our planet. While I tried to keep my travels on the cheap (which was mostly accomplished due to my many fabulous friends spread far and wide), I did manage to go far away from Rockport.
There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing places and people that are wholly foreign to us. If you have a chance, please avail yourselves of the incredibly cheap ticket prices, and go somewhere you have never gone before. It is exhilarating.
And in the end, of course, it is wonderful to be home, to be in the midst of the beauty I am used to, right out my window, and down my block. I so look forward to being in the sanctuary again, to see all of your beautiful faces. I have really missed you, and I am so grateful to be back.
It started before my sabbatical began, but it seems to have increased exponentially in my long absence: People leave all kinds of stuff in my office. Sometimes people do this by accident, as when I thanked a colleague for leaving her Call to Worship and Prayer in a lovely binder, and she responded, “Oh! That’s where that binder is!” Does anyone know who left a green pamphlet entitled Beginning Now, by J Donald Johnston, a Unitarian minister who died in 1981? It is a collection of some fabulous Opening Words. One of my favorites is entitled Conservative; here is an excerpt: “Liberals are cool and rational except when they hear Something they dislike Or disbelieve or think is foolish, orthodox, outmoded, obviously mistaken, threatening, infuriating, helplessly inaccurate, immature. Then they blow their stack like others, in spite of their desire to be cool and rational…” This excerpt reminded me of the feelings of despair, disappointment, disgust and depression whenever I checked in with the news during the last few months. These feelings arose whenever I read or listened to our President, but also when I read some articles from the so-called left as well. The utter contempt with which people are holding one another is impossible to ignore, even from the mountains of Los Padres National Forest or the busy streets of Prague.
Imagine my delight when a newspaper columnist (NYTimes writer Frank Bruni) suggested I listen to a speech by the mayor of New Orleans concerning the removal of four statues of Confederate leaders. A Democrat, the Mayor quotes Martin Luther King, Jr, Barack Obama and George Bush. Please check out this speech for yourselves; it was uplifting and gave me hope for our democracy.
It is good to be home.
See you at 4 Cleaves Street! Rev Susan