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 Friends,

There’s an old story you may have heard which goes like this.  Once upon a time, on a Thanksgiving morning, a man was preparing the ham to go into the oven, and, to do so, he cut off its corner, and threw it away.  Then, he put the ham into the baking dish, and slid it in.  His daughter, watching, asked, “Why’d you cut off that perfectly good corner?”  The man frowned.  “Well,” he said, “That’s what my mother always did with ham.”  The girl quickly answered, “Well, why did she do it, then?” The man didn’t know.  And it made him think all morning.  Finally, he called his mother, who was preparing her own Thanksgiving meal. He said, “Ma, when you are baking a ham, why do you always cut off a big corner and throw it in the trash?”  There was a pause on the line.  “You know,” said his mother, “I’ve never really considered that. It’s just that it’s how my own mother always did it.”  Now these two—son and mother—were very tech-savvy, and knew how to make multi-party phone calls on their cellphones.  So, they both called up the matriarch in the family—the mother of the mother and grandmother of the son.  They asked her this ham question, about cutting off the corner, and why she did it.  “Why’d I do it?” she said.  “It’s because my pan was too small!  Cutting off a corner of the ham was the only way it would fit.” 

Like that family, we have likewise inherited any number of habits from our family that we simply absorbed unthinkingly, and replicate.  Maybe we even call them parts of our culture, or our identity.  Or maybe we don’t much think of them at all. 

This month, as we reflect on ancestors, we’re invited to ponder how their lives have influenced ours, and what our ongoing relationship with them is.  Many people these days have done genealogical searches.  Some people swap stories.  The more we know our ancestors, and what they pass down, the more we can become students of our own lives, now more aware of how our gestures and preferences are possibly in some way inherited from others before us.  Take time this month to commune with your ancestors.  And, in communing, listen to what they are telling you now, in this moment of your own precious life.

Faithfully,

Jake

Faithfully,

Jake

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