We Unitarians Universalists are a part of a covenantal tradition – a tradition of covenant with something that is more powerful than you or I, something mysterious that calls us to our better selves, something that we all sometimes stray from, but that ever-beckons us back to a truer path -- something that defines us as a people.
We covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person – every being, I’d say. That’s the first of our seven principles. We covenant to respect the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part. That’s the seventh principle. The interdependence of existence, and inherent worth and dignity, are powerful. There is a quality of mystery and awe there. How could this be, this total interdependence, this inalienability from concern and respect? That’s why I say we’ve made a promise to mystery: because our covenant commits us to principles ultimately inexplicable.
Care, kindness, and compassion are, for us, rooted, after all, in our promise to uphold everyone’s worth and dignity because, mysteriously, it’s inherent – and our promise to respect the web of existence because, mysteriously, we’re an interdependent part of it.
Today, the notion that there are common goods that we can collectively realize, and that the form of our collective action is called government grows increasingly quaint. The trend to privatize everything from schools to prisons to health care means the wealthy get health care and education but no one gets the benefits we would all receive when more of our neighbors are educated and healthy.
We are not ready for details, for we have not yet coalesced around a vision, a dream. Recall that Martin Luther King’s dream was articulated in several of his addresses leading up its most famous expression in Washington DC in August 1963. Only after that dream exercised the imaginations of a significant number of people could we then follow with policy: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the fair housing act of 1968.
For us today, says theologian Walter Brueggemann, “the prophetic task is not blueprint or program or even advocacy. It is the elusiveness of possibility out beyond evidence, an act of imagination.”
The name for imagining beyond evidence is: faith. Your presence here to be with each other, to make the unmarketable abundance of community, is the embodiment of our faith and hope.
With the wider culture around us sliding toward despair and desperation, all we need to see hope right now is to look around at CUUC on a Sunday morning.
Yours in faith,
Practice of the Week: Sacred Reading With sacred reading, the mindfulness given to the text is a reminder of the power and holistic character of the life within and beyond me. Something hitherto silent has been given voice within me.
Your Moment of Zen: Everyday Life It's not complicated. Practice includes everything, and zazen is central. De-centering the ego in zazen requires help from everyday life. De-centering the ego in everyday life requires help from zazen. One hand washes the other.
Raccoon visited again from Cedarford and said, "My problem is how to use my practice in everyday life."Verse
Raven asked, "What is your practice?"
Raccoon said, "Lots of zazen."
Raven said, "You probably can't use it."
Raccoon said, "Then what's the good of it?"
Raven said, "Zazen arises from vows; vows arise from an aspiration for realization; aspiration for realization arises from a profound sense of unsatisfactoriness; the profound sense of unsatisfactoriness arises from self-centered views. When you realize that right views are right for toads and centipedes, then your practice includes washing your meat."
Raccoon asked, "Then zazen's not central?"
Raven said, "The core."
Venturing forth, coming home.
Spring moon, autumn moon.
I long ago lost track of
Which was supposed to be which.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonRAVEN INDEX