by Maggie Lovins, UUA Southern Region Congregational Life Staff
Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence—
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for all those in our lives
who have brought us warmth and love;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
It’s that time of year again! The flowers are coming out of their long slumber, the days are warming up a bit, the sun is sticking around longer in the afternoon... and one of the surest of signs to a Unitarian Universalist that it truly is spring - the annual canvass/pledge drive! This is the time of year, for many of our congregations at least, where we pledge financial support to our congregations, and they in turn pledge to our Association. I don’t need to go in to whys of the process, we all know why we need to pledge. Yes, the lights need to stay on, the mortgage needs to be paid, the Administrator, DRE and Minister need to be fairly compensated, but beyond that, our pledge is another aspect of our covenant to one another- we promise to help take care of our Faith in all aspects and to be good stewards of it for the next generation of Unitarian Universalists.
This is also the time for District Assemblies and Congregational Meetings. Time to vote on new officers, bylaw changes, new long range plans, for some it might be time to vote to call a new minister, but for all of us it should also be a time to remember why we come together “amid all the noise in our lives.” I mean, why do we give 2 hours or so most every, if not every week, to our chosen Faith? Why do we sit in committee meetings, board calls, canvass trainings and the like when our daily lives have become so hectic? Now in reality, some folks really do love meetings, the collaboration, the brainstorming, the governance, the challenge, and there are some that enjoy a good argument as well. Others are not so much like this, but they give freely and openly of their time, treasure and talents just the same. You all give of yourselves, you chair our RE committees, serve coffee on Sundays, edit newsletters, visit our members when they are unwell, and the list goes on and on. We need all of you and so many more to help move us towards the Beloved Community! But we still are left with the question of why we do it? Why do we come together as we do not have a guilt driven ‘do it or else,’ punishing type of Faith.
We know we are on our pilgrimage here but a brief moment in time.
I wonder, could it be as simple as Love? A little four letter word that I personally hold to be my only capitol ‘T’ Truth, could that be the unifying reason we gather? Our congregational and Associational polity declares we need not hold shared beliefs, but I would venture to say that this is something we all believe in. Not the pie in the sky,
Pollyanna type of “All you need is love” (sorry John, Paul, George and Ringo, I still love ya!) but one of the most basic elements necessary for a healthy human existence, the one thing everyone seeks and some are blessed to know, what I would say is at the core of who we are as Unitarian Universalists.
So if Love is at the core of who we are, why we are, and what inspires us to gather, how do we enact that Love to reach out? Do we take it to the streets? Do we take it to our schools? Do we take it to our government? Do we take it to our prisons? Do we take it to every corner of the world and let everyone we come in contact with know that this is who we are and what we believe? YES! Yes, we do- we ARE the Love people remember?! Now, how do we give it away to every single soul in need, to every single person in pain, to every single human being paralyzed by anxiety? We do it together. One step at a time, one social justice outreach at a time, one food pantry at a time, one piece of legislation at a time, one humanitarian effort at a time.
Let us open ourselves, here, now,
to the process of becoming more whole—
of living more fully;
of giving and forgiving more freely;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth.
~Tim Haley, Worship Web UUA.org
To do this work will take the hands of many, and our continued gathering in and outside our congregations. Why the continued gathering of our congregations you ask? Because that is where we manifest and synthesize the Love to take to the world! That is where the never empty font of Love, Justice, Compassion, Equity and Interdependence lives, in our Unitarian Universalist communities! I invite you to summon Love in to your everyday life, in to your every action, in to your every word. I invite you all to be the change you wish to see starting now! I invite you all to gather in a spirit of “Love Reaches Out” and join your fellow Unitarian Universalists in our first ever simultaneous Southern Region wide District Assemblies starting April 25th. May you know Love, may you give Love, may you become Love.