Book(maker) of Life opening words

MVC-266F

Good morning and welcome to the First Unitarian Church of South Bend, a fellowship of seekers after truth, striving for understanding as we serve our human cousins. All who are in sympathy with these ideals are welcome in this house.

 

In the library of books unwritten we each have a space on the shelf of biographies. Every one of these books contains some tragedy and some comedy; some romance and some mystery. Some pages show evidence of a single tear; some are so wet that they bleed onto other pages.

 

If you are grieving this morning, we wish you peace, and we welcome you in.

 

If this chapter of your life is written in angry prose, or if it is full of worried foreboding, or if this page is full of gladness, we acknowledge your human emotions and we bid you welcome. If your life’s narrative has slowed, its vitality drained; if it feels almost too difficult to put pen to paper, we offer you rest, and a community of meaning.We are glad you are here.

I woke up this morning to find this Facebook post, by my dear friend and colleague, Erika Hewett. She had just officiated a wedding for two lesbians from Georgia, and was headed out to her car: “When I left…, I encountered a pair of guests weeping together in the parking lot.

 

In fits and starts, they explained: You. Have. No. Idea. what it’s like to be raised Southern Baptist in Georgia (indeed I don’t). Both of them are feeling called forward on new spiritual journeys: OUT of dogma, out of family expectations, into right-ness… and terrifying freedom. One confessed shyly that she’s been researching Wicca, which I praised, and of course I told them where to find their nearest UU church.

  

My wedding prayer referred to ‘the grace of a merciful God who holds us all in love beyond human understanding.’ It included my naming that ‘we have different beliefs about the larger Presence that surrounds us; we come from different religious traditions.’ To me, that’s matter-of-fact. For them, it resonated deeply enough to elicit tears of relief and gladness.

 

The title of this post is: ‘Universalist Theology Is Still Radical in Some Parts, and People Are Hungry for It.’”

 

This is the kind of forgiveness and acceptance that I want for all of us. Whatever language we use, that is the *experience* I crave for us. To be loved, to be accepted, to know that you are part of an interconnected web of life which is imperfect and evolving toward goodness and truth and beauty…to feel these things so powerfully that tears of gladness roll down our faces—this is the experience I want each of us to have. It is the experience I hope we each get to offer another person. We often fall short; and may we always rise to try again.

 

So may we be.

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