Here at USG as our 150th celebration winds down, we are coming off another wonderful visit from a past USG Minister. Returning for the first time in 20 years, Rev. Bill Gardiner and his wife Peggy brought many excellent memories and much love.
One of the many compliments Bill and Peggy paid was saying this was their favorite place they ever lived. I know more than a few past USG Ministers feel that way. Of course, there are many reasons, but the people and beautiful natural resources are amongst the top.
Some things never change. Kristin and I feel deeply blessed by the people of USG and the surrounding neighborhoods. And we love to get out into the Wissahickon to enjoy the park and area woods.
Old friends visiting and telling how much they appreciated this place reminds us to be extra grateful. When I pause enough to pay attention, this spring’s early blooms recall the poetry of Mary Oliver’s “Lilies”:
I have been thinking
Like the lilies
that blow in the fields.
They rise and fall
In the wedge of the wind,
And have no shelter
from the tongues of the cattle,
and have no closets or cupboards,
and have no legs.
Still I would like to be
as that old idea.
But if I were a lily
I think I would wait all
For the green face
Of the hummingbird
to touch me.
What I mean is,
could I forget myself
even in those feathery fields?
This sesquicentennial review of our USG roots highlights key moral values held strong by generations of our people. We believe in connecting with compassion with each other and the wider community. We believe in connecting with nature and serving as brave, effective stewards of Mother Earth.
I encourage all of us to stay committed to those basics of connecting with people and nature. In an effort to encourage such connections, I invite you to a date with me walking in the neighborhood or the woods. I would love to walk slowly or quickly with you and just chat. Let’s spend time in our gorgeous Mount Airy. Or we can meet at church and drive ten minutes to the woods and take a 30-minute walk.
I also encourage you to make such dates with other friends or new visitors to the church. (Be a bit careful if you are inviting a perfect stranger to walk in the woods. You might want to give them some context for the idea).
As we go into the full throttle spring of the Northeast, let’s do stop and smell the flowers. Let’s do stop and touch the words of a poem. If we stop, maybe a hummingbird will touch us – or a woodpecker, as I find more common around these parts. Maybe we will forget ourselves for a moment.
This is spiritual work. One day, whether we move away or not, we will all stop living in this area. One day we will all stop being active members of our community. Thoughtful recollections of our past empower us to embrace the life-giving power of now. Let’s connect and take advantage.