The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
The doors to our sanctuary are wide open on Sunday mornings, our church bell is once again tolling, and church life is rapidly returning to our campus. We’ve hosted a wonderful Green Living Fair for Earth Day, we are making Lunches for Bunches following our services each week, and we are once again collecting food for the Westside Food Bank–so don’t forget to bring some nonperishable goods to church with you!
Our Women’s Retreat is back at Camp deBenneville Pines, our annual pledge drive is ongoing (don’t forget to submit your pledge card or complete it online), and work will soon begin on the capital project to repair the foundation around the Arizona Street entrance.
We’re hosting Bylaws Refresh Town Halls to reflect together on our proposal to update our Bylaws, and our pastoral care leaders are organizing a new Pastoral Care Team that merges the ministries of the Pastoral Associates and CaRing. There is far more happening at church than I am able to share in this article but I hope you’re finding this return to so many of the activities we love to be life-giving.
How might you engage with all the renewing energy, events, and activities at church? I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to be of service in this rebirthing of our beloved community on Sunday mornings and throughout the week!
Our Soul Matters theme for this month is “Nurturing Beauty.” We are invited to reflect together each month on a theme of spiritual significance through some of our publications, group meetings, and worship services. “Nurturing Beauty” asks us to consider a topic that is often neglected in religious life but holds much potential. We tend to think of beauty in physical terms, but is not beauty much more than that? One of my favorite hadiths (sacred sayings) cherished by Sufi tradition is “G-d is beautiful and she loves beauty.” What might it mean for us to consider beauty more holistically as a spiritual reality rather than something simply of an aesthetic nature?
Mevlana Rumi wrote, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” Might we think of nurturing beauty as cultivating a state of being within oneself and acting in accord with it? Our friends at Soul Matters provide us with some excellent questions to consider as we reflect more deeply on this month’s theme: When were you first healed by beauty? When were you first protected by beauty? When did beauty first teach you something? When was beauty a doorway to the divine? What makes a beautiful soul? What do you do to beautify your own soul? What did your family of origin teach you about what it means “to be beautiful?” What parts of life have grown more beautiful as you’ve aged? You’re invited to bring some of these potent questions to your church meetings and activities to encourage community spiritual reflection.
If you are celebrating a joy or mourning a loss or marking a milestone that you’d like shared with the community at a Sunday service, please reach out to our new Pastoral Care Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also request confidential spiritual companionship if you’d like some additional support by contacting us at that email address.
Yours in ministry,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae