Yesterday in my sermon I spoke a bit about dreams and dreaming, how perhaps they are a connection to the sacred in our lives, and some of my dreams following the conclusion of this interim ministry with you in the summer of 2022. You can read the transcript here or watch the video on YouTube here. As you met on Sunday to discuss forming a search committee this spring it marks a shift or turning point in our ministry together.
It’s a bittersweet moment for me as we contemplate the end of this rich time together. And yet it’s also hopeful and exciting, as we encourage one another to dream about what future chapters might look like.
You have worked hard to articulate your identity and core values and are beginning to vision and dream about your future. Ministerial candidates will be so eager and interested to hear about all the work you have done in these past few years, as you came to terms with the end of your ministry with Manish and began to try to heal, work on some of the issues that emerged during that ministry, and move forward.
I’ve been witness to a lot of fascinating conversations amongst you, but one of the most intriguing is your speaking about the spiritual language you use. You are a community with a rich diversity of theological and spiritual perspectives, and it has been moving for me to witness your openness to share these with one another. It’s not always easy. Often, congregations are proud of their diversity but also reluctant to speak openly about their views for fear of hurting one another. If I use the word “God” will it upset my friend who is an atheist? If I treasure the word “Jesus” will this offend the one for whom Jesus is part of a complicated religious past?
I like these words which one of the deacons sent to me, in particularly the words which I’ve highlighted in bold:
One of the gifts of Unitarian Universalism is that we each have the right and the responsibility to form our own relationship with words of theological consequence. Today you’re reading one author’s reflection on brokenness. Next week, you’ll read a contrasting reflection. I’m grateful to these authors for allowing me to publish their thoughts back-to-back, so that by witnessing their contrasting opinions—in which there’s no right or wrong, but only “true for me”—you, our readers, might be inspired to engage more enthusiastically in faithful, respectful dialogue about the words and ideas that give meaning to our spiritual lives.
I look forward to having more conversation with you about the spiritual languages that you use and find helpful, as well as those that may be more problematic for you.