Midweek Message September 6, 2023

Flourishing in the Field

Wandering the trails of Artist Point last week, my eyes kept being drawn to the between places—not just the jagged peaks and tree covered valleys, but the cliffs where rock was smoothed into deep Vs and the many ponds hidden around bends in our path. The scenery and scents evoked memory of tundra-scapes in the Colorado Rockies, where I’d always have the urge to run twirling through the wide-open fields like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Yes, I resisted—because treading on tundra plants damages a fragile ecosystem.
This coming Sunday I will be on the ferry to Holden Village with three others from First Congregational Church—Vice Moderator, Scott Ward; Ministry Area Coordinator for Worship, Janet Ott; and Minister of Music, Lucy Bledig. I don’t know what to expect from this unfamiliar landscape, but I’m anticipating new experiences of wonder in God’s creation (including the people!). At Holden we’ll attend “Flourishing in the Field: Practices of Participation and Collaboration to Transform Our Lives and Communities,” an event led by
Music that Makes Community.


Some synonyms for flourishing:
thriving, blossoming, healthy, successful.

Sometimes flourishing means caring for the ecosystem around us—whether that be plants, animals, or other humans—helping them flourish allows us to flourish! Sometimes flourishing means paying attention to what is beautiful or awe-inspiring while refraining from getting too close or risk losing it. At Artist Point, it was enough to breathe the clean, cool air; to walk stony paths that others had prepared; to taste wild blueberries and share them with a friend. It was enough to gaze at majestic rock Vs and indescribably clear snow-melt pools. It was connecting with the Divine in so many forms.
“Flourishing in the Field” is meant to encourage us to support our community around questions like:


  • How might collaboration around ritual, performance, and art foster deeply responsive, mutually enriching, and healing community relationships?
  • How can we lead with interconnection, joy, purpose, and play?
  • How can we open more space for rest, repair, listening, contemplation, and depth?


Music that Makes Community writes: “This is for you if you are leading or part of an organization seeking new ways to build community and live into your core values.” The four of us attending knew this was for First Congregational.
As we prepare for a new program year at First Congregational (Gathering In Sunday is September 17!), I ask you to pray about one or more of the points above. How might they help you flourish in your faith journey, and how might you support the ecosystem of your faith community in flourishing?
I thank God for the many opportunities we have to be in awe and wonder and play and more. I look forward to seeing what we can share back with all of you.
In hope,