Sometimes—and today is one of those times—I think, How great it is to have colleagues and comrades in spiritual community. Or, if you will, for the Psalm-loving among us, How blessed it is when we live together in unity! I am just happy and feelings fortunate, so I thought I’d share my heart’s gratitude with you.
So far this month, I’ve had the good fortune to speak with at least six people about their hopes for holding winter solstice services in their churches. I cannot tell you—though I’m clearly going to try—how happy these conversations have made me. They have allowed me to live in some of the intersections of my faith and practice, places that bring me deep joy.
One person wanted to talk about how to bring children into a winter/winter solstice celebration in a way that would not only be fun for them, but would also be truly meaningful for them and their elders all together.
Another needed to talk through her hopes for a service and what hymns might work well.
Another wanted to talk about the blessings of darkness, and what darkness reveals that light conceals.
Another accepted my offer to write Quarter Calls. (In Wicca, Quarter Calls are among the main ways that we honor both the Four Elements Within and the Four Directions Without. We acknowledge our place at this moment and our time in this place. We acknowledge that we are the same stuff as all the other stuff. We acknowledge that we are each on a journey the end of which only the Divine perceives for sure.)
Another spoke with me about her Yule log—the kind with the candles standing up on top of a log, rather than the big-ol’ piece of lumber in the fireplace.
I shared Jonathan White’s version of Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Star Goddess with another friend, particularly for its “Seek Me in the light in the darkness, and seek Me in the darkness itself.” That line has been turning within me for a month now, and I intend to preach with it on Sunday at the Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship in Hood River, OR. You may also, if we are blessed to have you on the virtual retreat on Saturday, hear me read the rest of the Charge.
Preaching, designing liturgy, talking about music, discussing what is evocative of the peace and stillness that can be part of the season…I have had a lovely several days. These conversations, these moments of co-creation are what The Way of the River is all about. Finding the Divine moving among and within and beyond us—this is why I am doing this ministry.
Whether the central Mystery for you in this season has been the Chanukah Mystery of being rescued by a loving God through the miracle of light beyond fear…or is the Mystery of the winter solstice illumination found only in the deepest dark that leans, and spins, and turns back into light…or the Mystery of Christmas Divine incarnation and welcome in seemingly impossible circumstances…or the Mystery of Kwanzaa coming together in a culture that does everything it can to divide….or the New Year simple calendar turn, past a year of horrific injustice, reasons for hope, and miraculous love toward another year of yearning toward the hope, the love, the peace on earth…
Whatever the Mysteries around the winter solstice are for you this season, I pray they are transformative. I pray the small lights of the candles illuminate more than we can see. I pray you are able to be touched by the love of another and offer it back again. I pray that your heart is both unsettled and peaceful, always seeking the good.
The retreat is Saturday. My preaching is Sunday. The holy day of Solstice is on Monday. And then there are days of rest for me, days with my family, and with my own heart. I shall see you soon, my friends.