At last week’s May congregational meeting, Vice-President Amy Dark invited me to do the chalice lighting and extinguishing. Here were my words:
We knew this year that we were writing a new story
An historic story of a church going through the unimaginable
A global pandemic that would close our doors
And make fear, isolation, overwhelm frequent companions
Without the ability to touch each other’s hands, hug each other’s bodies
Breathe each other’s breath.
We did what needed to be done.
We learned to gather, to run meetings, to preach, to sing
All from our own homes
We learned something about to care for one another
In that limited but so important way, too.
And every week, in our own homes, we lit our chalice
Again and again, typing that “the chalice is lit in …”
Wherever we where.
The symbolism of the chalice was forged in the time of holocaust
When Unitarians in Europe reached out to offer hope
To those living in fear and unable to trust
They offered a beacon, as we do now:
There is good in the world. There are good people in the world.
I reach out to you. You reach out to me.
Together, we will survive.
For the chalice extinguishing, I shared less poetic words that I had sent in an email to some of our leaders:
I am terrifically proud of Live Oak and how we’ve handled this past year. Like, gushingly, ridiculously proud. Our members have been clear about prioritizing the most vulnerable, and really have been managing their own anxieties. (I’ve heard some tales, y’all … tales of churches that have been infighting over the most ridiculous things, and being downright mean to each other and/or staff.) Like I said, I’m ridiculously proud. It may be a little bumpy over the next few months as we move through transition, but I feel confident that we’ll be just fine.