As the New Year approaches I am grateful for yet another opportunity to begin again. Thankfully that opportunity is available to all of us more than once a year. There are many cycles-of-life happening simultaneously all the time, breathing in and out, dawn and sunset each day, weeks, months, and seasons come and go, each offering an opportunity to begin again.
Living into Covenant always invites us to begin again in love. However, an Alaskan summer taught me the power of reflecting and endings. After the initial thrill of seeing a midnight sunset I needed sleep. I managed to create a sense of personal darkness by pulling block out shades and keeping to my own rhythm. It was odd. I adapted, or so I thought.
During the flight home the sun began to set. It was glorious. It was as if I had been deprived of water and suddenly found a running spring. Tears fell and bits and pieces of my soul and cells celebrated as if life itself had returned at the closing of the day. That night, at home, the routine nightly chore of walking the dog turned into worship and wonder. The cool darkness enveloped me in love and care. Stars twinkled and offered generous blessing to my adoring heart.
I ended that day in gratitude and slept well. The next morning it was easy to begin again in gratitude for a new day and the opportunity to begin again. It was easier to love with gratitude in my heart. I learned to appreciate endings with as much enthusiasm and intention as beginnings.
Conscious breathing underscores the transitions between in and out. Try it. Take a deep breath, hold it, hold it, and release it fully with a gentle squeeze of your belly. Pause, wait until your belly begins to breath you and you naturally receive a deeper more full breath. The pause and the waiting is a transition. It is a time to prepare to let go and to prepare to receive.
What do you, or does your congregation need to release to fully receive the blessing of a new year or to begin again in love? What strategies or ministries are no longer serving you or the local community? Is your purpose and shared ministry creating a spiritual dissonance with those you wish to serve? What needs to be grieved, celebrated, understood differently, or let go of so that you can enter this New Year faithfully, boldly, with curiosity, compassion, and courage?
Each of you is enough, you matter, and you have a gift to offer the world. Each congregation in the Pacific Western Region is enough, you matter, and you have a gift to offer the world. Pause, receive a breath, wait, breathe out light and love to all you meet and bless the world with your presence. Happy New Year!
Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams