From Minister, Fri Feb 11

Dear Ones,

Take a look at this piece from Tish Harrison Warren (she's a priest in the Anglican Church in North America) from Jan 30.

Warren makes a good case that online worship is disembodied -- and that embodiment is crucial.
"For all of us — even those who aren’t churchgoers — bodies, with all the risk, danger, limits, mortality and vulnerability that they bring, are part of our deepest humanity, not obstacles to be transcended through digitization. They are humble (and humbling) gifts to be embraced. Online church, while it was necessary for a season, diminishes worship and us as people. We seek to worship wholly — with heart, soul, mind and strength — and embodiment is an irreducible part of that wholeness. . . . And the cost of being apart from one another is steep. People need physical touch and interaction. We need to connect with other human beings through our bodies, through the ordinary vulnerability of looking into their eyes, hearing their voice, sharing their space, their smells, their presence."
She includes some appeals that are specifically Christian. I would say that those Christian points are fairly easily translatable into UU values and principles.

Warren points out that there have always been those who couldn't come in person.
"For centuries, churches have handled this inevitability by visiting these people at home in person. A small team of 'lay eucharistic ministers' at our former church volunteered to go to the home of anyone who could not make it to church and wanted a visit. They would meet one-on-one with people, caring for them, reciting a short liturgy together, serving communion and catching up."
The part about "reciting a short liturgy together, serving communion" -- we don't do that (that's one Christianism that actually doesn't translate). The part about making home visits -- we do that, though perhaps we could do so more consistently and often. Even if we made a weekly home visit to every member who couldn't make it to Sunday morning at CUUC, I would say that a home visit by itself isn't as connecting as a home visit PLUS being able to see the Sunday service online.

Thus, in the end, I can't see us foregoing the online option, now that we have it. But we can at least move expeditiously to offer embodied community again -- which our Board has done. We are slated to be offering in-person Sunday worship again on March 6. What we should also do -- all of of us -- is actively encourage everyone who possibly can come in person to please do so.

Yours in the faith we share,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Feb 6 worship service, "Desire":


From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion, training #10 is: No blaming.

Whatever happens, don't ever blame anyone or anything else. Don't blame others, and don't blame yourself either. "Take responsibility" doesn't mean directing blame at yourself. We often blame ourselves and have been doing so most of our lives. You don't need to blame yourself for the situation you find yourself in. Just take full responsibility for what to do now that you're in that situation.

No blaming means no blaming even if it's actually someone's fault. Everything that happens, disastrous as it may be, and no matter whose fault it is, has a potential benefit, no matter how bad it may seem at first. That's the nature of something happening.

No blaming means you take the full appreciation and full responsibility for everything that arises in your life, no matter whose fault it is. Whatever has happened, what are you going to do with it? What can you learn from it? You have the strength and the capacity to answer these questions.

No blaming is a tremendous practice of cutting through the long human habit of complaining and finding the strength to turn every situation into the path. Blaming self or blaming another is more or less the same thing. The important point is to accept that what has happened has actually happened. And figure out what to do next.

If you find yourself in a situation where that’s really difficult, take a deep breath. Here you are. This is it. It is not some other way -- it is this way. There is no place else to go but forward into the next moment. Repeat the slogan -- no blaming, no blaming. Please see the full post: No blaming.


Here it is, your...
#107: Grace

We encountered Rev. Crane once before -- in #33, which prompted the Tallspruce community to wonder how holy spirit compared to Buddha nature.

What, indeed, about grace? The loveliness of life appears without our earning it or deserving it. The pain and the very possibility of life appear without our earning it or deserving it. Everything appears without our earning it or deserving it -- nothing that happens is ever earned or deserved. Is there an intending agent making it happen? How would it matter? It would matter only if the intending agent could be induced somehow to smile upon us. With grace prevailing everywhere, inducement is nowhere to be found.

Reverend Crane visited the circle one evening and asked, "What role does God have in our practice?"
Raven said, "None."
Crane said, "But the Bible says God concerns godself even with the sparrow's fall."
Raven said, "Does it say God intervenes?"
Crane asked, "What about grace?"
Raven said, "The east wind brings soft showers."
Porcupine murmured, "The ground gets wet."
There was a general silence. Then Woodpecker said, "We seem to talk a lot about Christianity these days."
Raven said, "We're not talking about Christianity."
by Hafiz
Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
With veracity
And love.

Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.

My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
And God?

What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred

This is the time
For you to deeply compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction by Meredith Garmon; verse by Hafiz

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