Our liturgical theme for September 2021 is “Embracing Possibility”
Over the course of the year, in the words and music of Sunday services, in small groups and discussion circles, in classes for adults, children and youth, and in personal reflection and practice, our life together is anchored in a series of spiritual themes – one each month through the cycle of the year.
When Soul Matters posted their themes back in May, it looked like the pandemic was under control and we were heading into an almost normal Summer. “Embracing Possibility” allowed us to think about how to move beyond and embrace new ideas, incorporating lessons learned from the pandemic. And yet, here we are and the pandemic still rages more strongly in some areas than ever before. And the death toll rises.
The Summer brought other challenges: wild fires in the west, record heat in the Pacific Northwest, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados in unusual places. The withdrawal from Afghanistan left us with shattering pictures of desperate people longing to flee political instability in their country as the American troops left. It seems like things are falling apart.
We are being given a wake-up call that all is not well. Several years ago, I was at a talk by environmentalist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben. After a bunch of doom and gloom about the dangers of Climate Change (many of which have come to fruition in the last couple of years), he talked about this time being an opportunity, an opportunity to create a sweet society. We can see where we are and we can imagine where we want to be. We can see this time as filled with possibility.
“Embracing Possibility” can mean imagining what was once thought of as impossible to be possible. And we don’t know what will work and what will fail. Systems thinker, Margaret Wheatley writes, “We need to continue to persevere in our radical work, experimenting with how we can work and live together to evoke human creativity and caring. Only time will tell whether our efforts contribute to a better future. We can’t know this, and we can’t base our work or find our motivation from expecting to change the world.” In saying this she doesn’t mean that our work is meaningless, that we shouldn’t imagine new possibilities. But that the work and how we do it is just as important, sometimes more important than the outcome. Sometimes we do things because they are the right and just thing to do AND we might not be successful. So, we try again and we keep trying again and we imagine new and different possibilities.
And through it all Wheatley writes, “We don’t need a specific outcome. We don’t need hope. We need each other. As we share our common journey, careful to stay together…we keep moving forward, confident that we have found our right work, developing our skillful means with discipline and delight.”
Amen and Blessed Be,
Rev. Aileen Fitzke