Today, Ash Wednesday, when Christians enter into the season of Lent, the reminder comes that we are dust and to dust we will return. Historically, this sometimes has turned into a time to berate oneself for one’s failings and to deprive oneself of things in order to achieve repentance for wrongs: many people "give things up" for Lent. However, the word "Lent" comes from the Old English lencten, a reference to the lengthening of days, of the growing of the light that heralds the Spring. So, Lent is also an invitation into wonder: from the dust of the universe, over billions of years, each one of us has come alive into a unique expression of possibilities.

Rather than giving something up, why not add something on...a new spiritual practice, a salad with dinners, extra glasses of water during the day, acts of kindness, a daily walk, reading for pleasure or edification, contacting a friend or a fellow congregant by phone to let them know you care? What about reading a new poem each day? Here's one by Mary Oliver:

Morning Poem
Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches –
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries in it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead –
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging –

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted –

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

The fact that life is fleeting is a joyous jolt to our systems: let us waste no time, let us live our spectacular lives in all of their magnificence. Let us, as Oliver urges, dare to see "the answers to our prayers" every morning, at least in part.

Each of us is a part of an unfathomable mystery, the wonder of which demands that we not settle for small lives of safety, but that we risk dreaming and daring to live into the magnitude of each and every moment we are given. Lent urges us to slow down a bit, to be intentional in the awareness of our potential, to have a time of renewal, and to celebrate our birthright as beautiful and creative and interconnected beings.

What might you "add on" this season, as we await the arrival of Spring?

See you Sunday,

Rev. Craig
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February 21
I Cannot Tell A Lie
Rev. Craig Rubano
During this time of February when we celebrate Presidents, Rev. Craig uses our collective (mis)understandings of George Washington to probe “truth”: Is there a difference between something that is “true” and something that is “verifiable?” When is it important to probe behind the curtain of received “truth?” Test your G. W. knowledge! And, here’s a question: When was the last time you thought it would be a great idea to take an ax and chop down a fruit tree?

Music: Louise Chernosky, Jennifer Thomas, Elaine Held, Kirsten Norberg
Thank you for your support of UUCMC as we bring our current situation into focus.