The sunset was a deep blue-violet with patches of fluffy white clouds breaking in now and again. Streaking across the horizon below was a wide band of mottled gold, yellow and orange. Separating it from the expanse above was a thin magenta line.
The last sunset of 2022.
Then, as the sky slowly darkened, I reflected on all that 2022 had been for me with its great sorrows, its moments of connection and joy, its challenges and accomplishments, all that I had learned and shared and the many gifts and blessings I received, for which I have deep gratitude.
After the first sunrise of 2023, I intentionally took my first steps into the New Year along the Columbia River. The outline of the I-5 Bridge emerged through the morning fog and was reflected in the river below. It became a beautiful metaphor for this time of transition between the year just ended and this new one just beginning. The time between what has been known and familiar and what is yet unknown in this new year. A liminal space, an in-between-time, a sacred space inviting a pause and reflection.
As the community of St. Michael & All Angels, we are not only celebrating the end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new one, we are also preparing to welcome a new rector and creating together this new phase in the life of our community. One year ago, we stepped onto the bridge that would carry us forward after the loss of two previous pastors into our own in-between-time. We have actively and intentionally used this time to reflect, learn and discern who we are as a community, as well as hope and dream and imagine our future.
Now, as we prepare to complete the transition, bridging what we knew and lived, and step into a future yet unknown, let us pause and ask ourselves, how open are we to the new, the unexpected, to new possibilities, possibly even being challenged beyond our comfort zone? How open are we to trusting in the Spirit to continue guiding us? How will we practice Radical Hospitality not only with a new rector but also all the ways we will be called to continue evolving and growing as a community? How gentle and loving will we be able to be with ourselves and one another as we make this journey as a community?
As we step across the threshold into this unknown future, a new beginning, life in community with a new rector, it calls for a blessing.
BLESSING FOR A TIME OF CHANGE
We express gratitude for all who have gone before us
and all that has led us to this new experience to be lived.
In keeping with a universe open
and new possibilities,
we commit to live into our future
with expansive hearts and minds
receptive to “new things”
ready to embrace the unknown
with trust and gratitude.
We acknowledge our unease,
in the face of newness
and the unexpected.
As we celebrate this new beginning,
we bring to mind our hopes,
our dreams of what could be
in our own lives
and in the life of our community.
We commit to one another
to be open to all
that Jesus calls us to,
now and into the future,
to be light;
to be light for our families,
and our world.
Mary C. Myers
Chaplain, Search Committee
January 4, 2023