Like many of you, I suspect, I found myself glued to the television on Sunday evening, watching the Super Bowl. I am mostly a baseball nut, but I watched plenty of Yale football when I was growing up (the Yale-Harvard games were epic, and must-attend events when they were played at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, where I grew up). So I understand the game, and I was ready to watch Bill Bellichick’s team do its best against the Falcons
I was not disappointed. It was the most intense, remarkable, engrossing game I’ve ever seen (at least, from the mid-third quarter on: two teams, evenly matched in so many ways, in ferocious competition. And of course, I’m pretty pleased with the way it all turned out: the team that wasn’t going to go anywhere this year with the criticized quarterback bounces back from a huge point difference to overcome amazing odds and win. That is the kind of storybook ending we love, and as if we needed more, Lady Gaga was just over the top in terms of drama and music.
Our FUUY and Coming of Age classes took a break from their usual evening meetings to join in the celebrations at their own homes or private gatherings; this weekend everyone will be back into the routine, knowing that this year, the Patriots prevailed and we all got to watch and cheer them on.
Here, at midwinter, we can celebrate Imbolc, the earliest of spring observances from Pagan religion and know that there are slow, gradual signs of renewal. The days are getting longer, the sun is higher in the sky. Today, as I write, the temperature is in the fifties (ok, tomorrow we’ll have nearly a foot of snow to contend with) …and so it goes. Soon, Ben will tap our trees, and those of our neighbors…and thus will begin our annual sugaring ritual which results in ‘kitchen facials’ of steam and the gift of delicious maple syrup at the end of the road. We put it on our pancakes, in our homemade baked beans, and over the top of our Indian pudding (yep, I make those things like the New Englander I am); we jar the rest, and give thanks for the gift the trees bestow on us. It’s a sign of the end of winter and the coming of spring.
I find this the time of “perpetual anticipation,” as a favorite song says: waiting for the end of winter, hoping for the signs of spring that restore hope, along with a return of more sunlight to our part of the earth. Coming out of church at night, I eagerly await the scent of a skunk, emerging from hibernation, to remind me that spring will really be around the corner.
And with this time of change come the opportunities around us. This weekend Hilary Allen of the UUA New England Region will lead a workshop on navigating change in the church. There’s been a lot of it, and some like it while others mourn it. Nothing stays the same – whether we resist change or not – the only question is how to live into the change. Please come and enjoy lunch (and child care if you wish) and participate in this program. It is about this congregation…all of us. And it is a time when all who call this congregation home have an opportunity to be generous your commitment to this congregation’s annual giving campaign. Your generosity not only helps to sustain the congregation’s current physical plant and pay the staff, it also helps to support the current and new programs that will make this congregation thrive in the years ahead – programs that include a great religious education program, trained and excellent staff, and equipment, programs and training that go into making for educated and dedicated teachers and volunteers.
Years ago, a friend said she realized that the value her family received from her UU church was worth much more than a week at Disney World…because it lasted all year long and provided so much to each member of the family. And so my friend gave an annual gift that was more than what it cost her family to go to Disney World for a week – a representation of the value of a vibrant church community for her family.
Whether the comparison is a week at Disney World or something else, I hope you’ll take some time to think about the gifts that you receive from Follen Church. And then, think about the gift that you can give in return, knowing that with your nurture and support, you in turn will benefit and grow.