Last Friday was such a wonderful night at North Parish, with Freeman Hall and the sanctuary full of people enjoying wonderful food, new connections and a gospel concert with five different choirs! Years in the making, the naming and dedication of our parish hall as Freeman Hall after historical Black North Parish members and church musician Cato Freeman (1768 – 1853) and Lydia Freeman (1765 – 1854) was a joyous occasion. If you missed it, I hope you’ll look through the slideshows (or videos) of the night, which are linked in the eNews.
This weekend brings yet another tradition of marking the beginning of the spring season, and in this case, a new year on the lunar (or lunisolar) calendar. In Asian nations, Saturday marks the beginning of the Year of the Wood Dragon.
Looking online, I learned that each zodiac sign in Chinese astrology is associated with an element as well as an animal. There are five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Wood stands for “growth, flexibility, and caring for things in nature”, and like a tree growing “getting bigger and adjusting to new situations”, being “open to new ideas and willing to welcome change,” and like a tree firmly anchored in the earth “having a strong sense of purpose.” Those sound like good qualities to emulate at North Parish for the year ahead.
I have a soft spot in my heart for dragons because for years, there were many, many dragons in my household. After reading a young person’s book series (The Wings of Fire series) one of my kids was quite singularly focused on dragons. The books were full of war and brutality but also loyal friendships, self-discovery, adventure, courage, creativity and goodness. It’s almost as if the author was trying to prepare young people for life.
The explanation about the Wood Dragon that I found online by Master Steven Chen continued: “When the Wood element is combined with the powerful Dragon sign, it creates a unique synergy. Wood Dragons naturally nurture and offer support to those in their surroundings. They are like the branches of a tree, providing shade and shelter. Their warmth and empathy make them dependable friends and allies. Wood also gives Wood Dragons a creative edge. They’re as flexible as a willow tree, adapting to situations and finding solutions.”
Do your friends know that a religious congregation can be like a Wood Dragon? They might want to find out. To those who celebrate, a happy New Year of the Wood Dragon to you!
Yours, Rev. Lee