There has been a lot of talk about how 2016 was a horrible year. I would have to agree. There was the election (depending on who you voted for, I suppose), the Zika virus, a steady presence of terror attacks, more killings of black men by law enforcement, more killing of law enforcement by unhinged people, Brexit, civil war and mass killing in Syria, ISIS, climate change, the death of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali … I’ll stop. I could keep going, but that was becoming depressing.
This has been a terribly hard year. But there has also been beauty and goodness. There has been victory. There has been laughter and love. Because of the Ice Bucket Challenge, we may have found the gene responsible for ALS, 800 hostages were rescued from Boko Haram, solar power is thriving in California, during a 24 hour period in India this year, a bunch of people planted 50 million trees, the hole in the ozone is actually getting better (a model for hope), child mortality continues to descend, manatees, tigers, and pandas… oh my! -all are up in population, Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and this list could also go on and on. And furthermore, let us not forget that there are still puppies, rainbows, stars, fuzzy caterpillars, and snuggly blankets.
There is also our church, which is thriving – which is pushing into new space and deepening in ways that we hoped for years ago. I spend a lot of time at church, so while my news feed offers me despair, my daily life is filled with inspiration as I witness the way our church meets the needs of its people, how our members work together, and how we dream for our future and then courageously move forward into those aspirations. My daily life is full of goodness because I spend my days and evenings with the members of UUCNH. In hard times, my spirit is lifted by the reality of our church. If you get discouraged, I invite you to simply look around our community. Trust me. You will feel better. What good is a church if it doesn’t provide us with hope? Our church provides me with so much hope. And a place to participate in bringing hope into being. UUCNH is hope filled and hope fulfilling.