Words from Your Minister for January 2018


Dear Friends:

I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow for our first service of the New Year! I hope that you’ve been weathering the cold and snow as best you can. At my place in Medford we managed to more-or-less unbury ourselves the evening the big snow quit with the help of our landlord’s snow plow.

It was wonderful seeing so many people out for the congregation’s annual Christmas Eve service. It was truly special and I was glad to bring both my son and a couple of my colleagues from Harvard along. They are from mainland China and it was there first time at an American Christmas Eve service. Asa also got to ring the Paul Revere Bell (with Cedwyn’s help). If you haven’t checked out the video of them tolling away is pretty hilarious. Guess who got pulled into the air?

If you weren’t able to make the Christmas Eve service and want a little late Christmas spirit you can find my homily online. The text of my sermon from the beginning of the month, “Into the Dark of the Night” is also available through my website.

This month I will be leading two services on how we come to know the self, our sense of personal interior being. The first is tomorrow and is titled “You and I.” The second will be on January 21 and is titled “Two Bodies, One Heart.” In both I will be suggesting that the self, the sense of I that each of us has, is something we come to know through others.

I also have a bit of exciting professional news. I have been selected to be the Spring 2019 Minns lecturer. The Minns lectures are a series of annual lectures given in Boston that are designed to “an innovative force in Unitarian Universalist thought.” My lectures will be on “American Populism and Unitarian Universalism.”

As is my practice, I close with a fragment of poetry; a winter miracle to help with the icy nights ahead:

Asked on the icy steps
what she concealed in her mantle,
Elizabeth of Hungary
felt compelled to show her husband
the eggs, bread, and meat.
Instead, white roses,
red–though it was mid-December–
spilled from the heavy cloth.
In this miracle, she is most often painted.

from “A Recurring Possibility” by Jane Hirshfield

I hope to see you soon!



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