“Palm Sunday” by Charles F. Flagg, adpt.
“We light our chalice and remember that every endeavor begins with a first step, and encounters darkness and difficulty along the way. We know the darkness of ignorance, of fear, and of tyranny. Yet we know the dawning of light, the beginnings of hope, and the renewal of living. Blessed be the eternal power which inspires us to kindle this flame. Together we are taking these steps. Together, we will encounter darkness, and together let us follow light wherever we find it.”
“Yes, every endeavor begins with a first step, and encounters darkness and difficulty along the way.” It is true, we embark on endeavors, work together and challenges come to greet us each day. At times, the work unfolds smoothly and we are grateful. It can feel easy and right. But, at other moments, we encounter difficulties and sometimes we can feel like we are alone in the darkness trying to find our way. Events unfolding in the world weigh heavily on us all. We send our prayers and strength to the people of Ukraine staying to defend their country or fleeing away; we mourn the passengers on the plane that crashed in China; we are in solidarity with transgender people on the front lines in schools and sports competitions. We find ways to care for our Earth in the midst of crises. Our work of justice and care is needed, so needed. Being part of a community like All Souls means that we send our collective strength and care. We do not have to face these challenges or accomplish the work alone. We have the company of each other to share ideas, solve problems, co-create a vision of who we can be and what we can offer. This season of Spring has begun and new life is all around in our familiar birds returning, green shoots appearing after what has felt like a very long winter. It is heartening. For me, Easter represents a rebirth of Jesus’ vision of justice and care for the disinherited and forgotten, the outsiders. His family, his followers mourned his death and needed to find solace in his teaching, his vision of the way a society could be. We will be co-creating our social and environmental action vision beginning with a conversation on Sunday, April 10. “Yet we know the dawning of light, the beginnings of hope, and the renewal of living.” For many years, I stood with a circle of people at dawn, members of the local United Church of Christ and our UU congregation, for a simple service on the top of a Vermont hill. We waited in darkness and silence for the sun to appear, and we greeted the light with prayer and song. The dramatic simplicity of welcoming the sun, an ancient form of worship that illuminates common ground, goes far beyond the boundaries of religion. In our faith, we have opportunities to explore and expand our spirituality, to notice where our passion and inspiration leads, and to know that “Together we are taking these steps. Together, we will encounter darkness, and together let us follow light wherever we find it.”
With deep gratitude,