P is for Play!

Dear friends,

Our worship theme for the last six services of our church year is “Play!” The theologian Brendan McIerny contends that “we are most fully human when we engage in those acts that are ends in themselves.” In a world that often asks for the “takeaway,” or considers value only in terms of monetization, the spiritual exploration of play has a lot to offer us.

McIerny goes on: “Imagine the toddler running around her home, growling and roaring like a lion. To ask what the child’s purpose is as she runs around roaring like a lion is almost absurd. Her purpose is precisely to run around roaring like a lion. Her means are identical to her end.”

At our Next Steps retreat on April 6, we spent some time brainstorming the future of our buildings and campus. What happens in our First Parish spaces throughout the week? What do we want to prioritize?

This week, as I moved about our campus, I couldn’t help but notice all the signs of play:

  • In the lower level of our Parish House, Magic Garden toddlers are bustling about on plastic trucks.
  • In the Donaldson Room, the bell choir is rehearsing (come hear them play during our May 5 Spring Fest service!).
  • Upstairs, Beehive ART is full of kids making amazing sculptures in light-filled classrooms.
  • On the playground after a Sunday service, families are chatting, as their kids swing and climb and slide.
  • Coming up, at Spring Fest, we’ll celebrate May Day or Beltane with Flower Communion, a May Pole celebration, and face painting.
  • (And, if my prayers comes to fruition, we will have an all-church kickball game after our last service on June 9! Let me know if you’re interested in helping organize…)

Of course, our buildings provide space for important meetings and small groups, too. But I hope there might be an element of play even in those gatherings.

After all, as McIerny writes, “Our own playing, our own refusal to reduce our acts to strict biological or utilitarian purpose, to waste time and energy in superfluity, is a sign of being made in the image and likeness of God.”

With love,
Nate and Kit

PS – Thanks to all who have joined us in pledging to First Parish’s “Sweeter than Honey” Stewardship Campaign! If you haven’t pledged, please do so today so that we can construct our budget for the coming year.

Did You Know?

  • Our Music Director Miranda Loud has deep roots in First Parish; her father Rob directed the children’s choir (with 60 kids), and her grandmother Mary directed the choir. In addition to their weekly offerings during the service, Miranda and the Music Committee organize two concerts for the community each year (and this year they added a Talent Show!).
  • Each month, a First Parish minister visits Lincoln Commons to host a discussion group, “Conversations with First Parish,” based around that month’s worship theme. Attendance tends to run between 10 and 15 people, some FPL members and some not. The conversation is vibrant and the snacks are delicious!
  • For many years, First Parish had a Green Team, devoted to environmental advocacy. In 2023, the Green Team went on hiatus. Maybe next fall is the time to start up again, as we live into our call to “cherish the living earth.” Email Kit or Nate if you’re interested.
  • Our friends over at First Parish in Concord are getting ready to call a new minister! Read a little about Rev. Jennifer Johnson here. (And congrats to our Director of Religious Exploration, Lora Venesy, who served on the Search Committee.)

Job Search Conversation Group

May 22 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

A Walk Among Wildflowers and Poems

May 31 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Pride & Celebration Sunday

June 9 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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