If it’s good to be together, it must be bad to be apart.
And yet: the truth is that life has always been a rhythm of separation and togetherness, exile and return. We may prefer the “return” bit, the “bring you back to this place” bit, but that doesn’t mean separation isn’t part of the story.
Experiences of separation are at least as old as the ancient stories of the Garden of Eden, the Israelites’ exile in Babylon, and the parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus and his followers were separated by betrayal and death, and then reunited by forgiveness and newness of life. Even on our most “normal” days, our lives are a rhythm of gathering and dispersing, coming together and going apart, calls to worship and benedictions.
These past 18 months have been another profound experience of this ancient pattern, and as challenging as it’s been, we take solace in the knowledge that our ancestors, too, experienced seasons of exile. And here’s the point: thanks to this history, over time our faith — and our church — have been built to help us live through such seasons with grace and hope. And just look around at our church! We are brimming with such promise and hope, even during these difficult days!
At our core, United Christian Church is a community of reunion, homecoming, and return. Now more than ever, in a world full of exile, our congregation stands as a beacon of hope, welcome, and radical hospitality rooted in love.
With all of this in mind, we invite you to join us in giving thanks for all the resources — spiritual, theological, physical, and financial — that have brought us through this difficult time with such exceptional grace, and promise us a future with hope. And as we look ahead, we invite you to pray daily over the coming weeks and to bring the enclosed pledge card (or go to uccaustin.org/pledge) to our in-person or online worship on Giving Sunday, October 10th. Together, we’ll dream new dreams for this next chapter in our life together, and with our gifts, we'll celebrate God’s beautiful gift of “a future with hope.”
Rebecca Molis, Jan Keeling, Andrea Larson, and Rev. Anna Kreisle