Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, the 40 days that lead up to Easter Sunday. Lent recognizes the 40 days that Jesus wandered in the desert after he was baptized by John the Baptist and before he started his ministry. The story says that, in those days wandering in the desert, Jesus was tempted by Satan in many ways, refusing each time. Christians who practice Lent will use this time to “give up something for Lent” to mirroring Jesus’ sacrifice and to reflect on their life.
Viewing this story as metaphor, we could say that Jesus went on an internal journey to find his purpose, his ministry. He wandered in an internal desert and faced temptations to paths other than his ministry. He refused those false paths, eventually finding clarity about his purpose in the world. He faced the big questions of who he was and why he was here, in this world.
Right now, OUUC is on a journey to clarify our mission and purpose with the Vision, Mission, Ends project. Rest assured that I do not harbor messianic aspirations for myself or OUUC! I do know our faith community has a mission, and that that the journey to clarify purpose and meaning is so important and will shape our future.
We will not be required to fast or wander in the desert alone; the Board and consultant, Jake Morrill, have provided accompaniment and a process for this journey. What is required is that you show up and lend your voice to the process. Regardless of how long you have been affiliated with OUUC, or if you are a member or friend or sometimes attender, identities, or what identities you claim now, your voice is welcome and needed. There are cottage meetings and congregational meetings coming up to gather for discussion and input. You can find more information here and here.
This journey is important for the future of OUUC because the outcome will set the course for how we will be in the world. This is not about doing; this is about being. This is a doing congregation, and that is not a bad thing. Our doing must be grounded in our being first, our spiritual grounded, in order to fulfill our mission. And the work of being is harder than the work of doing, it is internal, not external work. Jesus did not “do” for those 40 days in the desert, he struggled with his being, then the doing became clear. This is as it can be at OUUC-–let’s wrestle with who we are and the difference we want to be in the world, then our doing will become clearer.
Blessings on your week.