Hello United! It is my great joy to write this, the first of my pastoral letters to you. Have you heard this one?* Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. (Cue rim shot) These last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me – visiting with you, selling and buying a house, packing up and now, slowly, unpacking everything Debbie and I own. There are dogs to settle and services to locate (Anyone know a good dog groomer?), not to mention figuring out all the round-abouts and crazy streets. But seriously, have you ever tried to eat an elephant? I don’t really mean eating an actual pachyderm, but have you ever been so overwhelmed by a problem, an evil in the world, maybe lack of mental health care or systemic racism or intractable poverty, that it seemed impossible? I know, that in the midst of all my personal changes, the world has been experiencing great transformation as well. Our nation’s longest war has ended leaving countless people who worked with our government, or even disagree with the ones now in power at risk. The effects of global climate change have caused tremendous storms on the east coast and unprecedented heat and wildfires on the west. Haiti is suffering the effects of both a massive earthquake and a hurricane. And the Covid-19 Pandemic continues to wreak havoc throughout the world and particularly in the United States. It can all be too overwhelming, especially for those of us who profess our faith with not just our mouths, but our feet and pocketbooks. It can feel like trying to eat an elephant. In other words, have you wanted to help in a situation, or two, or three, but find it so large and intimidating and complicated that you have no idea where to start? That’s how it feels to me in the world right now. So many things are happening all at once - in our families, in our communities, in the political sphere, in the environment - that it feels like I have a seafood fork trying to consume 13,000 pounds of problems. It’s tempting to just shake your head, to give up, to leave it to someone else. Luckily, we are not responsible for solving the problems of the world. Rather, as believers, we are pointed towards our individual places of action by discerning the call of the Spirit. The Spirit moves and, if we are paying attention, we are equipped with just the right size fork and companions with which to share the meal. We will never “fix” everything, after all, we are only human, but if we listen and make a move, we can take a sizable bite of our share. Heavenly Parent, We confess that the troubles of the world confound us even as we are complicit in their creation. We live in a time of unimaginable turmoil. We watch in horror as your beloved children are treated like criminals just for walking down the street, visiting a park or entering their own homes; when poverty and homelessness and injustice, war and murder and destruction are the reality for so many; when the very earth herself is imperiled by carelessness and greed. We feel helpless in the face of such suffering - paralyzed at the elephant - sized task. Open our eyes, God, give us our forks, show us where to bite, equip us with the stomach to do what needs to be done, each as we are called to do. Let us show your grace and mercy and justice as we endeavor to be your people in the world. Amen. *With sincere apologies to vegetarians everywhere
I'd love to meet with you!
I am setting aside time each week, during the day or in the evenings via zoom, to meet with you one on one as you are able. The goal is to learn a little about each other and to find out about your hopes and dreams for United. If you would like to get together, please let Karen in the office know, by either emailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org., or feel free to leave a message on the office voicemail at: 508-752-3785, and we will return your call to set up a time.
Also, please feel free to email me anytime at email@example.com or call (585) 662-3785. Please note: My Sabbath is Fridays so I will be unable to answer and non-emergency calls or emails on that day.
~ Rev. S. Brae Adams