Dear Friends,

Greetings as we begin this new year together.  As I said in my homily on Christmas Eve, I appreciate your faithfulness to one another and this community during this, shall we say, unusual year.  Send along your feedback on worship, classes, events or anything else that is happening at FPL, as well as your ideas and inspirations for new things you’d like to see (  I believe over the next few months we’ll have an opportunity for some congregational conversations on theology and spirituality, social justice, and mission/vision.  Stay tuned!

For some reason I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but do find the turning of the calendar page onto a new year a natural invitation to reflection.  I’m thinking about a conversation with a friend last week and a question she posed: “What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?” and her follow-up, “How do you want to grow and change in the year to come?”  Good questions and not so easy to answer, but I’d say for me that deepening my spiritual practice and prayer life has become more of a priority than ever.  Meditation, quiet, stillness, writing, and reading books that help to feed my soul, all these things are even more important during Covid.  As well as walks with friends, Zoom calls with family, making things with my hands, trying new recipes, learning a language.  Plants, poetry, needlework, nature, movement, personal connections and relationships.  What are the things you are turning to in order to help you get through?  I’d love to hear.  Drop me a line and let me know.

For me, all these are a way that I’m trying to “apprentice myself to hope,” as writer Maggie Smith said in her recent book Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity and Change.

I wanted to include this poem last Sunday in worship, but there wasn’t quite enough time so I offer it here as kind of a blessing as we start this new year together.  I like the last lines in particular, speaking as they do of “our hopes such as they are/invisible before us/untouched and still possible.”

To the New Year
By W. S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


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