Minister’s Message for January, 2024

Our focus for January is body gratitude. #bodygratitude #gratitudepractice #chaliceuuescondido

What does it mean for us to have a congregational focus for the month? It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have a worship service on the topic, though that might happen sometimes. The idea for a “focus” came to me last month, after preaching about simple pleasures in late November. There is so much pressure to shop and spend and go overboard in December, it seemed to me that we (including me!) need help to stay focused on our true values. I started posting almost (but not quite) daily a photo to Chalice’s Instagram account (@chaliceuuescondido) a photo and message on the theme of simple pleasures. And I invited you all to share your photos on the topic as well.

And it was fun! I got photos of a basketball in the hoop, a warm fireplace, a simple Christmas tree, and holiday lights in the window. On my personal Facebook page, Chalice congregants let me know about their simple pleasures: working a puzzle, playing NYT Spelling Bee, enjoying biscotti with coffee while watching the sunrise, online yoga, a hot shower, and time with family.

On Instagram, a photo from inside the chapel during our Winter Party was one of the most “liked” photos we shared. The photo of our menorah in the chapel was another popular one.

The point of this practice is not to do something on social media. The point is to try and keep our focus on those values that are meaningful to us, especially in contrast to the barrage of messages we get through advertising, news, and yes, social media. For those of us who use social media, we can use photos and posts to share our thoughts and ideas, to help strengthen our focus, and maybe—who knows—break through some of the noise out there to help bring a more positive message to other folks who could benefit from it.

So this January, as diet culture gears up for its big season of body shame, I’m inviting us to stay focused on body gratitude. I hope this won’t feel like toxic positivity; I’m not asking you to feel something you don’t feel. But when we are being bombarded with messages about everything imperfect with our bodies, we can benefit from reminding ourselves of all the amazing things our bodies can do. Yes, our imperfect bodies, our bodies that get sick and feel pain and sleep poorly and don’t always work the way we wish they would. Let’s see how it feels to tune in to what our bodies can do, rather than what they can’t. Will you join me?