Message from the Minister

Dear Friends,

I hope February finds you in peace and love and purpose.
Today I got to tell a story to a group of adults. It was a “water cooler” moment and everyone was talking. A colleague, in a story she shared mentioned a #2 pencil. Someone else interrupted the conversation to ask me to tell the story of the 88 countries and the pencil.

“It’s not a joke,” I said in response. “Have you heard the one about the broken pencil and his existential crisis? He tries to write, but it’s pointless.” Everyone groans at the bad humor. And then I tell the story of the 88 countries that it takes to make a single #2 pencil.

The paint is made in Kazakhstan. The graphite is mined in Brazil, but is shipped through the defederalized zones in Jamaica and shaped in Mexico. The wood is harvested in South Africa, Swaziland, Hungary, Estonia, Georgia; shaped in Sweden. The eraser has rubber from Thailand, processed in Malaysia, and formed in Cambodia.

It takes 88 countries to make a pencil. Think about everyone working. Think about the connection that we don’t even know about. Think about someone working, going home to visit their mother, taking her dinner. Each step in the supply line and each step in the supporting economies.

Whether we know it or not, we are connected. One of the greatest takeaways from living through this pandemic is our closeness—how we breathe the same air as others.

Spirit of Life
Today, in this moment, in this time, in this space–in this safe place…we pray for connection in ecosystems and economies, in hope and faith and love…

We pray
For the folks who can’t keep it together. For ourselves–when we can’t. When the world seems too big a challenge. When the world feels too big, too lonely and the challenges seem too great.

We pray
For the people who are separated from their loved ones–those in mourning and those victims of discrimination and ignorance when death is the barrier when rules and judgements get in the way when justice fails and “Us and Them” is used to drive a barrier.

We pray
For ourselves, for our wellbeing so that we might carry-on and help. That we might stand up for those oppressed, but also sit with them as we mourn the lose-lose options we face. We pray for our sisters and brothers who fight the good fight, when we are distracted by our own attachments.

We pray
a prayer of gratitude. That we exist in this time to confront these issues. We can create pencillike connections in all aspects of our lives. We get to change these diapers. We get to pick up this mess. We get to create this art and work this work. We get to wipe away these tears. We get to have this laughter, these knowing laughs and these bellylaugh until we cry-laughs. We get to comfort others in this time of turmoil, this time of connection.

Amen
— Rev. Will

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