SERMON: Living Principles
I don’t expect any of us, myself included, to know how to live our principles just because we say they are our principles. As we read through the Unitarian Universalist principles on the back of the order of service, we say, “yes, these are my principles. They speak to me. They resonate with me.” But that doesn’t mean we automatically know how to apply them to our lives. We certainly aren’t born knowing how to live them. We have to learn how to live them. And, in fact, we have to constantly relearn how to live them as the world changes. How do we learn and relearn? We practice. We practice here at church. This is, in fact, one of the purposes of church. Rehearsal. Heaven may not have come to earth, but we can rehearse for its arrival here. We may not experience beloved community out in the wider world, but we can rehearse it here. Practice, practice, practice. Continue reading….
PRAYER: Transgender Day of Remembrance
Precious and loving God,
You whom we know by many names and none,
You who reside in the heart of the so many faiths, the heart of the ancestors, the heart of mystery,
You whose spirit is love, whose will is love, whose intention is love, whose purpose is love, whose essence is love:
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you for this day.
Thank you for this sacred time we share together on this day.
Thank you for holding us in this time of sorrow and grief.
Thank you for grounding and centering us as we name those who’ve lost their lives as a result of murderous anti-transgender hatred and violence.
We ask that you hold these beloved dead, that you cradle them, that you embrace them in their eternal rest. Through us, holy God, cry for those who can no longer cry, laugh for those who can no longer laugh, sing for those who can no longer sing, and speak for those who can no longer speak.
Help us to speak loudly and clearly for them so that their living and their dying will not have been in vain; so that we, together, can build a more loving, more just, more caring community, nation and world.
Thank you for grounding and centering us, as we prepare to go out from this time and this place to speak your love into a world that doesn’t feel safe, that doesn’t appear to care, that isn’t motivated to change.
Thank you for instilling in us courage in the face of fear, hope in the face of despair, love in the face of hatred.
Bless those who’ve been murdered. Bless those who love them. Bless us as we mourn, as we remember, as we sing, as we speak, and as we love.
Amen and blessed be.
BLOG POST: Actually, He Didn’t Get Away With Any of It!
There have been protests in cities and towns across the nation every day since the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Last night I attended a meeting of the Hartford chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), where the 300 or so people in attendance were, among other things, informed about various protests and demonstrations happening around Connecticut—every day, multiple times a day for the foreseeable future. My impression is that the energy and anger driving the protests is not dwindling but is actually increasing. People are only just beginning to organize. Larger and more disruptive protests and demonstrations are coming.
I hear a variety of voices asking for the protests to stop. “Give the new president a chance.” “The people have spoken, now let’s try to work together.”
To the people who are asking for the protests to stop, I suspect you are among those who succumbed to a lie many of us succumbed to during the campaign. The lie is this: Donald Trump “got away” with saying and doing things that no politician, let alone a Presidential candidate, has ever gotten away with. Well, that’s actually a lie. He didn’t “get away” with any of it. Continue reading….
SERMON: Sending Forth (Six Reflections on the 2016 United States Presidential Election)
I have very mixed emotions when I counsel you “to reach out to someone who disagrees with you.” I believe this is ultimately what we must do, but I know that for some the act of reaching out feels like, and in all too many cases is, reaching into potential danger, into violence, into micro-aggressions, insults, bullying. Reviewing last week’s sermon now, I realize the reason I felt confident pronouncing those words prior to the election was because I, like virtually everyone else, was operating under the unexamined assumption that Hillary Clinton would win. I was assuming our reaching out would happen in the wake of a national, electoral repudiation of the blatant racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, climate change denial, and anti-intellectualism that Donald Trump and Mike Pence deployed in order to motivate voters. It’s one thing to reach out when you feel an election result affirms your values—that’s hard enough. But it’s quite another thing to reach out when an election result rejects your values, rejects everything you hold dear, rejects the core principles that, for you, comprise the foundation of civilized society, and promises to destroy social and political structures that make you feel safe and fully included in the body politic. After the 2016 election, I’m not sure what reaching out looks like, at least not yet. I believe it is ultimately what we must do, but I have mixed emotions. Continue reading….