There are Seven Principles the members of the Unitarian Universalist Association “covenant to affirm and promote.” Yet I contend that all of them are essentially covered by the first and the seventh.
First, “the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Seventh, “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
In between we affirm justice, equity and compassion; encouragement of spiritual growth; a free and responsible search; the right of conscience and the democratic process; and the goal of peace, liberty and justice for all. Yet if we truly value every person and understand the depth of our interconnectedness to each other and the earth, then the rest will fall into place.
For me, these are profoundly spiritual principles. Because of them, I am inspired to love more deeply, live more fully, and reach out beyond myself with care and compassion.
So, I sometimes find it surprising when people say that justice work is the central mission of the church and Unitarian Universalism.
While the justice work we do is important, it is not the center of our faith. The work of creating a just and fair society is the outgrowth of a spiritual connection to one another, to the earth, and to the source of love and goodness (that I name God).
If we have that depth of connection, then we will be called to love and live for more than ourselves. And our sense of calling may not show up as working directly with marginalized or oppressed people. It could be to create beauty – in word or image. Or cultivating generosity. Or in serving the church – as a Worship or Pastoral Associate, on the Stewardship Team, the Board, teaching our children and youth, coming to Building and Grounds Work Parties, and so much more.
For many, our professional lives are all about caring for others in need – as teachers, nurses and doctors, lawyers, social workers. What they may well need from church is inspiration and sustenance. A place to refill their souls and gather love and strength from community.
There are others who work to end homelessness, for immigration rights, or for environmental justice. What they may well need from church is inspiration and sustenance. A place to refill their souls and gather love and strength from community.
That would make the mission of the church providing the inspiration, strength, and sustenance, the connection to love, to Source, to community. With such connection we can live more fully in a too often broken and hurting world. Our work in the larger world is an outgrowth, not the center of our faith.
My first aim on Sunday mornings is for the “spirit to move” in the Sanctuary in your hearts and among us all collectively. My hope is that you are inspired (enspirited) in the ways you need most. A little comforting here, a little prodding there. Room to breathe, to grieve, be uplifted in joy. I figure if we’re doing all that on Sunday and through the week, the rest will fall into place.
May the spirt move in your hearts.
with love, Rev. Dana