In Support of Presence to the Present
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
OCTOBER PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM REV. STEFANIE ETZBACH-DALE
The book of Jeremiah describes a scene in which one of the four biblical matriarchs, Rachel, cries out on behalf of the future of her children. She foresees terrible things ahead for them and cannot still her tears.
That story is often linked with the story of Isaac, so traumatized by his experience of having almost been sacrificed to God by his father Abraham, that we don’t hear from him again. Not until he is old, and so blind that he cannot even tell his sons apart.
These ancient stories can be ignored, or they can be explored and interpreted in a wide variety of ways. This year I’m struck by what they reveal of human responses to fear and grief. To me they feel highly relevant, given that we all have been grappling with a range of struggles and losses these past two years. And that days are once again shortening, and we are facing ever greater societal and environmental challenges.
Some of us are compelled to cry out (like Rachel) on behalf of a frightening future, while others (like Isaac) become silent in response to things already endured. Some focus on the future, while others can’t see much beyond the past.
Both of these scenarios affirm how hard it can be to “be present to the present”. The present is not always an easy place to be. And yet, it is where we are most likely to discover meaning and live into empowered purpose. It is where joy is to be found - right there amidst the sorrows.
The October 23rd “Remembrance” Worship Service, coordinated with the Pastoral Care Team, is being planned with this in mind. Please plan to join us that day, as we honor the many kinds of loss and grief held within this beloved community.
Send a photo representing who/what you grieve (person, animal, place, opportunity, identity, ability, etc.) with a brief description to Kathy Kinner by 10/10/22 so it can be included in a memorial slideshow that day.
Meanwhile, please know you are not alone! Let UUSM’s Pastoral Care Team know if you’d welcome an opportunity to have a private/confidential conversation about the sorrow you hold, or are interested in attending a special series of Zoom gatherings designed to support you through the winter holiday season.
In Awe & Faith,
Rev Stefanie Etzbach-Dale
Emergency Pastoral Care Minister