Fans of Stephen Sondheim will know the wrenchingly wonderful song, “Being Alive,” from Company, in which the protagonist sings about taking the risks of being in relationships, and in fact, of being alive. Often, he is unable to be vulnerable and goes through life playing it safe.
Let’s face it: life is a series of risks taken or avoided, and if we choose engage life fully, we will wind up being hurt, disappointed, and walking through life wounded. But if we are to have the kind of “abundant life” that Jesus speaks of in John’s gospel, we must be willing to take risks. It’s not always easy. Our faith -– our trust -– in God must be stronger than our fear.
I have been deeply inspired by the courage of one of our members who has been dealing with cancer for several years, and I have seen her repeatedly seize the day and refuse to be anything other than fully alive. Janet McCulloch now is living with extreme pain and was unable to be in church last Sunday to see the showing of her art in Plymouth’s gallery, but she did make a “special guest appearance” via an iPad (attached lovingly by her family to an IV drip pole on wheels) and was able to converse remotely with folks during coffee hour. And with Janet’s permission, I am sharing this piece of her story with you, because it is wondrous.
One of the other assurances of our faith is the idea of eternal life, which doesn’t mean our bodies will always be healthy and vital…they won’t. It does mean that we are not separated from the love of God. It does mean that in life, in death, in life beyond death, we are not alone. And eternal life doesn’t start when our bodies give out…it starts now…today!
I encourage you to take a long, enjoyable look at Janet’s artwork in our gallery. It will help you to know what it means to be alive. And if you feel inclined, let Janet know what it means to you.
Seize the day! Seize abundant life!
All images © Janet McCulloch
 Romans 8.38-39
 “A New Creed” from the United Church of Canada
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.