“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We are Called

In the meditation manual, Voices from the Margins, Unitarian Universalist minister Rev. Natalie Fenimore writes:

We are all called.
Called by the wind, the rushing water, the fireflies, the summer sun.
Called by the sidewalk, the playground, the laughing children, the streetlights. Called by our appetites and gifts – our needs and challenges.
Called by the bottle, the needle, the powder, the pill, the game, the bet, the need, the want, the pain, the cure, the love, the hope, the dream.
Called by the Spirit of Love and Hope, and visions of God’s purpose for our lives. We are all called.
What do we choose? How do we answer?

At First Universalist, we believe that we are called by the “Universalist Spirit of Love and Hope, to give, receive, and grow ever more fully into Love’s people.”  

We believe that we are called to walk with one another as spiritual companions. And hundreds of you are just beginning this journey in one of our many Community Circles, groups of 8-10 people that meet every other week to welcome, affirm, and protect the light in one another, and to listen deeply to where Love is calling us next in our lives. I know that sometimes it feels safer to sit in a row than a Circle. I know that being in a Circle can be soul stretching, heart opening, and even challenging, as Circle members share the “really real” of what’s going on in their lives with others.

As you heard during worship on September 29th, we are called into our Racial Justice work; it’s a spiritual imperative and spiritual practice for us. By the end of this year, one hundred people will have gone through the racial justice trainings, and twenty people will be equipped to lead ongoing trainings. We are answering “yes” to this soul work, because as the Rev. Rebecca Parker has said, “Racial injustice is not only a tragedy that happened yesterday…racial injustice is currently mutating and re-creating itself. Its dehumanizing effects are harming lives.”  

Finally, I am grateful that the Board of Trustees has approved my request for a two month sabbatical for March and April, 2014, because I am feeling called to deepen my understanding of large church ministry. I wish that everyone could have regular sabbatical time for spiritual, personal, and professional growth. During the sabbatical, I intend to grow as your Senior Minister, to visit other large Unitarian Universalist churches and learn best practices around management, growth, and staffing, to work with a large church ministry coach, and to deepen my own spiritual life. Ultimately, I want to help this congregation thrive in our shared ministry. Whether we’re 1000 or 2000 members, I want First Universalist to offer an experience of warmth, welcome, and transformation, that helps all of us move toward more fully becoming Love’s people in the world.

How are you responding to the call from the Spirit of Love and Hope? How are you answering “yes?” Drop a line here, or catch me at church – I’d love to know.

In faith,

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