A few Sundays ago I taught y’all to sing Narrow Bridge, with lyrics adapted from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, an 18th century Jewish sage, mystic, storyteller. His words inspired Jews in the Holocaust, and someone put them to music.
He wrote: All the world is just a narrow bridge, And above all is not to fear, not to fear at all.
I have found I cannot live (or lead) from fear.
It’s been true for a while, though in recent years it has become clearer to me – clearer and more of an imperative.
There are forces in the world that are trying to make us afraid because when we are afraid we are easier to manipulate. That makes me angry, yet I cannot live from fear because it makes me feel icky inside. (Yes, ick is a theological term in my lexicon.)
Rather I want to live from integrity, intentionally and authentically, from a sense of abundance, trusting and trustworthy, generously noticing the goodness and beauty all about me. Living that way opens my heart, makes me want to reach out and connect, helps me find the strength to speak out against injustice and for love and possibility.
And if people facing holocaust can speak of walking the narrow bridge of life without fear, then so can I. So, I encourage you also to fear not. To live in abundance and possibility. To see clearly and act fiercely. Yet not to fear.
I urge you to take up a practice of generosity – toward yourself and the world. And, yes, this is stewardship season, so I am now speaking of your generosity toward the church.
And, yes, Celebration Sunday – when we make our pledges for the next year in the Sunday service – is March 17.
So yes, part of what I mean is being generous with our financial resources.
Yet, bringing a spirit of generosity to our lives is about far more than that. It is a form of resistance to forces that would make you afraid. (If you have read this far, please email me for a prize.) Generosity is a strategy for both resistance and resilience.
The next two years are an important time in the life of the church.
Look for a letter from Board President Bryan Buck (if you have not already received it) about a unique matching opportunity for your gift to the church this year in which increases in your pledge will be matched up to three times.
We’ve been talking for a full year (and longer) about becoming financially sustainable. There are several ways that can happen, though raising more in annual pledges will carry over best. We know not everyone can increase their giving, and I ask that you consider this request. If you can increase your annual giving, I hope that it can also give you a sense of joy and abundance.
I see such an abundant, generous, and joyful spirit alive at UUVentura.
Let us continue to grow that spirit.
With Love, Rev. Dana