August a Month of Preparation and Rededication: “Gather the Spirit,Harvest the Power” A Personal and CommunalReflection Practice
As mentioned in the minister’s column this month, we invite everyone at Thomas Paine UU Fellowship, no matter what your role or tenure at the Fellowship, to engage in this intentional month of reflection (and in any of the other practices listed in the column.) We face some extraordinary opportunities and challenges in this coming year—as individuals, as a congregation, as a country and a world. Let’s listen deeply to our yearnings for each of those domains. In his book,Yearning:Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, Rabbi Irwin Kula, writes, “Yearning…I can think of no more defining experience of human life.” So, yearnings might be considered your deepest aspirations or prayers that can give you direction. We will build upon this time of listening and writing down our reflections, to see what directions we might discern personally and collectively for the coming year.
WeeklyPractice: Reflecton Your Yearnings for Self, for Our Congregation, for Our Larger World
1. Each week, perhaps on Sunday or Monday, ask yourself the same three questions at the top row: “What are my yearnings for (self, congregation, broader community)?
2. Write down in a sentence or two, your response to that question for the week.
3. Continue each week of August, asking yourself the same three questions and writing down your response in a sentence or two. You might even prompt yourself by asking yourself the question as if hearing it for the first time or (b) asking yourself, “What is at the heart of my response from last week?’
4. During each week, you may continue to reflect on the question and see what else occurs. Listen to your heart and your imagination.
During this last week of the month, summarize each column above? What is at the “heart of” (essential) to your yearnings above for self, congregation, and the broader community? Moving Forward What are you willing to do in response to any of these “yearnings” in each or any of the columns? Save your reflections from these pages. We will be introducing ways for us to share our insights during the month of September. Spiritual Grounding: This month you may want to listen periodically to this favorite hymn, “Gather the Spirit”, by Jim Scott. It captures this well, so this is the theme of our “Month of Preparation and Rededication” at TPUUF.