MESSAGE FROM REV. TELOS WHITFIELD
“What is it that awakens in my soul when I catch the scent of rain, when I see the sun and moon rise and set on all the colors of the earth, when I approach the heart of wilderness? For indeed something does move and enliven me in my spirit, something that defines my very being in the world, I realize my humanity in proportion as I perceive my reflection in the landscape that enfolds me. It has always been so.”
– N. Scott Momaday
As I write this reflection, I am starkly aware that we are just a few days away from the year anniversary of the invasion and war in Ukraine. In preparing for our upcoming worship service, I have been reading moving and disturbing words of poets, listening to haunting and inspiring songs, and absorbing images that artists have been creating throughout this crisis. I have felt deeply moved and inspired to see the images of destruction and learn of the deep resilience that continues to unfold there. Our Soulmatters theme for March is Vulnerability and it seems particularly piognant and relevant as I imagine the villages and cities of Ukraine, the devastation of the earthquake and the dramatic loss of lives in the towns and cities of Syria and Turkey. Perhaps vulnerability and strength are needed always as we confront personal and global challenges. What does it mean to be vulnerable? Can we find strength as we navigate times when hope and inspiration seem so distant? The Oxford Dictionary defines vulnerability as: “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” Yes, this is true, that one can be vulnerable literally to this reality of being harmed. But I have often heard too that it is good, healthy to be vulnerable, to share our feelings or thoughts, letting another person know who we are and how we are feeling or coping. Perhaps it is reaching out to someone and letting them know how we really are in this moment, this is showing vulnerability. So often we might protect ourselves, not wanting to burden them with our struggles, but it could be fears of sharing our true selves. We all experience challenging and joyous times, feelings of shame or remorse, great joy and inspiration. To be vulnerable may not be limited to sharing challenging feelings but also to truly claiming and sharing our happiness too. The time to show and share our vulnerability with each other will give us strength to face our own challenges and aid in reducing the suffering of others.
We are in the time of Lent in the Christian calendar, a time that invites inner reflection, prayer and almsgiving – offering acts of charity, performing works of justice. This is a defining feature of who we are as a community with the organizations that we support each month, the ways that we support each other and the work that we do. I imagine that each of us reflects and prays in our own way, be it an early morning walk; watching the changing light from our window; offering gratitude at the end of our day. I feel blessed to serve this congregation, you continue to inspire and move me in so many ways, and lift my spirits as we navigate these challenging times, together.
With Gratitude and Blessings,
“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
– Jelalludin Rumi