We’ve been back at church for a while now, but it still feels like we’re returning. Perhaps it’s the sudden and somewhat unexpected burst of warm weather. Maybe it’s just that I got sick last weekend and wasn’t able to join you at church, but to me, it feels like we’re still not quite back into the church year yet. There’s a transience to things on the surface. At the same time, there’s a deeper sense of permanence as newly graduated, I return to the rhythms of life outside of the academic world. I’ve caught myself thinking “oh yeah, I remember how it is to *not* got back to class in September!”
In the midst of all these musings on the transient and the permanent, I’ve been recalling Theodore Parker’s sermon of the same name (well, sort of). In a sermon/essay titled “A Discourse of the Transient and Permanent in Christianity,” Parker explores this dynamic of what is transient and what is permanent in religion, and in his case, Christianity. I’m not going to step on Parker’s punchline and ruin it for you – you can read it here if you want, but what it made me think about is the transient and permanent character not just of religion, but of religious community, particularly this one.
Again, I’m not going to answer that question for you, but as you might have noticed, we’ve spent a lot of time with you asking some version of “Who are you? Why are you here? What is the good news this church has to proclaim to the world?” And we’ve been asking that question not just because it’s important to renew clarity of purpose during interim times, but also because this clarity of purpose can help to anchor you in what is permanent and enduring about this faith community, even in and through the many changes that come as new members come, other members leave, staff changes, and the world around us continues to compel our engagement in new ways.
So, I offer this question to you for the week(s) to come – What is enduring about UUCM? What was true 20 or 30 years ago that you know will be true 20 or 30 years from now? Equally so, what changes? Where might things be quite different in the future, even as the more enduring qualities remain? However you answer these questions, I look forward to seeing you in church!