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January 2019 Associate Minister's Column by The Reverend Nathan Ryan

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The second sermon I ever preached was called “The Holy In-Between.” (I want to tell you it’s the first sermon I’ve ever preached because that would sound more poignant, but, alas, that’s not the way my life unfolded). While I was in seminary, I was given Sunday, December 26 to preach. Seminarians always get the services that most fellowshipped ministers would be just fine giving up.

I expected maybe a dozen people to be there. I was, of course, nervous because I had only preached once before. I wanted to find a way to reach those few who decided the day after Christmas they’d show up at church.

The whole service was about being stuck in between holy times. For many people Christmas is a holy day, and New Years is a time of renewal. Often we ignore that week in between them.

I believe most of the holy stuff happens in the holy in-betweens in our life: the transitions and the time between major events. Who we are is often more determined by casual interactions at the grocery store, who we let in while driving, what we decide to read, and how we treat each other when we casually pass by.

Depending on which day in January you are reading this, you will either have Steve as your senior minister (January 1-6), a solo Associate Minister (January 7-15), or a new Transitions Minister, The Reverend Beth Miller (January 16-July).

The spiritual challenge of times like these is to feel the discomfort and know that everything will be well. While we’re here in this transitional time, let’s be open to all of the holy that is revealed in the in between.