Good and Right Relationships

Good and Right Relationships

I went to the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Town after town where our churches are doing their best to be a witness to the love of Christ marched by: Holyoke, Westfield, Agawam, South Hadley, Chicopee, Easthampton, Granby, Springfield, and more, peppered with appearances from bands from New York to Philadelphia. I prayed for each church and pastor in each town as the banners went by; wondering how many of the folks going by were church members. One guy even leaned out of his car, waving, and said to me, “I know you from somewhere. Where do I know you from?”
I yelled back with joy, “CHURCH!” I had tears in my eyes at least twice at the sounds of marching bands; kids being kids; and the joy of people gathering after two years of covid-hiatus.
I felt the same way the first time I entered a church after the pandemic, hearing the organ strains and the harmony of voices raised in hymnal praise.
These years are teaching us what matters; and many of us are re-ordering our lives accordingly. But I think, if nothing else, we know that being in good relationship with others is so important for our spiritual and mental health. This is, after all, the core of our covenantal relationships.
See how good, how pleasant it is
for God’s people to live together as one!
(Psalm 133, The Inclusive Bible)
Recently, Executive Conference Minister Rev. Darrell Goodwin and I facilitated the first of the SNEUCC Boundary Awareness Trainings. The foundational tenants of that curriculum include clergy wellness and right-relationship with God, self, and others. Lessons include mindfulness practices and tools to increase awareness of when we might be reaching the point of boundary transgression.
Judging from some of the comments we received, at least some were pleasantly surprised.
Have to admit I was a bit dubious and not entirely enthusiastic about spending half a day on Zoom. BUT, it was well-constructed and well-presented and I was glad I did it.  
It was a great training that reminded us that when we are taken care of we are far less likely to make poor decision[s]. I appreciated the idea that when we think of boundaries we should think about being in right relationship.
As you continue this journey in the compound wildernesses of pandemic; of Lent; of perhaps even re-ordering your life, I pray you God’s accompaniment and wisdom. I pray you good and right relationships. I pray you wellness. And if you need a refresher and some good, human, collegial connection, I recommend signing up for the next Boundary Awareness Training—and perhaps attending the next community parade. (Church floats, anyone?)
Lenten Blessings,
Rev. Terry Yasuko Ogawa
Area Conference Minister, Northwest Region

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