Leader Letter

Subscribing congregations should share this letter with congregational leaders.  Being oriented to the month’s theme, and equipped to help others in the congregation get aligned with it, builds the whole congregation’s engagement with the theme.  Which, of course, means unity and energy for the community.

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Dear Leaders,

The other day, I was in Durango, Colorado, waiting on a late plane. The plane arrived late, and then there were some mechanical issues. When those were resolved, there were some more. At long last, they let us all onto the plane, where we sat for an hour before they made an announcement that now we should all disembark. We did. And sat there. And sat there. By now, it had been almost five hours. 

There is a religious leader I follow on social media, because he’s written some things about life and death that I admire. But that admiration has dimmed over time as I’ve followed him on social media. On social media, he’s not a wise sage. On social media, he appears, more often than not, as an irritable traveler, exasperated by the indignities of modern air travel. And I’ve thought that it’s a good standard of spiritual maturity to see how a person puts up with air travel delay. Which is a pretty good opinion to have until the afternoon you find yourself in Durango, Colorado, unable for hours to get to where you had planned to go, along with a few dozen other people, likewise put out. 

Well, I knew I had this column on the theme of “Wonder” to write. And I knew I had a spiritual test before me: could I, as I waited, adopt a spiritual stance other than irritation? Could I, stretching my limited faculties even farther, even attain the open-hearted, childlike state of wonder? Well, the short answer to that question is an irrefutable “no.” You would not have found me, glassy-eyed, head tilted and smiling faintly, mooning over the interminable hours that yet lay ahead in the Durango airport. However, even the pursuit of wonder, as afternoon turned to evening, then evening into night, awakened some awareness in me. I saw, as I had not before, the range of purplish-blue mountains, low on the horizon because of the distance. And the green and gold plains, laid before them, flat as a table. Even closer than that, the airplane itself: even though it was not working for some reason nobody could appear to make right, that people have accomplished such a machine in our age, and continue to improve it (though not evident on that day), is a wonder itself. And that, I? Born into this age, and able to travel? And see the wide world? Well, I’ll tell you—it’s a wonder. 

As I said, I didn’t that afternoon realize the transcendent state that I would think of as wonder. But, with intention? With gratitude? I got to see how you might.

Faithfully,

Jake

Rev. Jake Morrill
Lead Minister ORUUC
Executive Director UUCF
Launchpad Partner