Happy New Year! This New Year comes with it a particular sparkle of hope as we say “goodbye” to a year of grief, and we spy the glimmer of hope on the horizon: the reality of a vaccine is setting in. Still, our hospitals are bursting at the seams, two of our dear elder members have now fallen ill -- we must stay vigilant as our city’s exhausted first responders work under stage 5 conditions. We spy the light of hope, but we are still living in dark times indeed.
You, my church family, have been that light to me. On Christmas Eve, I watched on gallery view as you held your candles to your cameras and sang “Silent Night,” and though I was alone in our sanctuary, I felt surrounded by God’s light and your love. Who would have ever thought Zoom could become such holy ground?
And we have an opportunity again to come together and heal our weary hearts. This Sunday our youth will be presenting an Epiphany drama, and together we will chalk our doors to welcome in the New Year, and hopefully, prepare to welcome more guests in person this year than the last. Chalk was distributed last month in blessing bags, and will be distributed tomorrow at the blessing bag dropoff between 11:30 and 1 as well, or you can just grab some chalk from your home. To learn more about the practice of chalking doors, go to uccaustin.org/epiphany.
And I’m so excited for our third and final Holy Conversation this month, which is the most fun conversation of all. It’s all about our dreams for the church. I encourage you in these conversations to not be limited by the bounds of practicality or feasibility, but to instead dream big audacious dreams, cast sweeping bold visions, and make inspiring wishes for the future of our family of faith. Questions will be posted soon at uccaustin.org/holyconversations. To see what comes next after Holy Conversations, go to uccaustin.org/road-map-of-interim-tasks.
Friends, I am praying for you always, and wishing you a New Year filled with more hugs, more big family dinners, more singing, and more nights of deep peaceful sleep.