Category Archives: Worship Themes

RESISTANCE

Yes, this month’s theme is among the most complex of them all. But it also may be the most simple. The complexity is clear: Sometimes being a people of resistance involves struggle and requires us to disobey; other times it asks us to just be ourselves and not hide who we really are. Sometimes it involves defeating the enemy; other times it is a matter of noticing that treating them as the enemy defeats us all. Click on the title (RESISTANCE) to continue reading…

EXPECTATION

Pray for our expectations to be turned on their heads? Give us tears when we expect to be fed? Give us wild obligations when we expect congratulations? Turn us sideways? You want us to pray for this? Hope for this? That’s a bit nuts! And a bit UU. Click on the title (EXPECTATION) to continue reading…

ANCESTRY

Our faith agrees with Ellison: there is a difference between relatives and ancestors. Relatives give us our brown eyes and bowed legs; ancestors bless and burden us with a legacy. Relatives are those we tell stories about; ancestors call us to carry the story forward. Our relatives allowed us to be here; our ancestors tell us why we are here and why being here right now matters. Click on the title (ANCESTRY) to continue reading…

LETTING GO

We cling. You name it, we’ve wrapped our grasping fingers and anxious hearts around it: success, safety, society’s standards of beauty, personal desires to be accepted, perfectionism, duty, fear, grudges, hurts, hopes, stuff, shame and privilege. Whether the object of our grasping is good or bad is not, as we learn, truly the issue. Click on the title (LETTING GO) to continue reading…

INVITATION

Create a clearing, listen for your song and let it teach you how to give yourself to this world. There is no better description of the religious life than this! And notice that it all begins with invitation, with the deep humility and knowledge that while the song is deeply ours, it also comes from something or somewhere beyond ourselves. Click on the title (INVITATION) to continue reading…

DELIGHT

Be careful this month. The theme of delight is deceptive. One could easily see this is a way to end the year “on a light note.” But there’s deep work for us to do with this topic.

It’s hard to believe that our Unitarian Universalist fore-bearers had to fight for delight. Over the years–and continuing today–there have been many religious systems that begin with the idea that this world is broken, a place of misery and pain, toil and struggle. Our job is to survive it, indeed transcend it, through sacrifice, confession of our own brokenness, and an industrious Protestant work ethic. Delight was reserved for a time far off, a heaven granted to those who earned it. Click on the title (DELIGHT) to continue reading…

TRADITION

Tradition. It’s not had an easy road among us Unitarian Universalists. For much of our history, we’ve seen it as a threat. UU preachers and theologians have talked about it as “chains,” “tethers,” even “a jailer.” And that’s certainly how it’s felt to many of us at times. We know what it is like to be bound tight by tradition. Click on the title (TRADITION) to continue reading…

REVELATION

Every UU out there agrees: to be a “people of revelation” in our liberal tradition means first and foremost to be a people of humility. Revelation is not sealed. It is on-going and spread out all over the place. Nobody has cornered the market. Nobody has captured it whole cloth. Click on the title (REVELATION) to continue reading…

RESILIENCE

When did we decide that resilience was a solo project?

It’s not that we ever consciously decided that this was the case. It’s just what we’ve been taught. The dominant culture around us may be well intended, but it takes us down the wrong path. “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” it says. “You’re stronger than you think.” “If it first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This is how resilience is most often framed: It’s all about individual mental toughness and inner strength. Click on the title (RESILIENCE) to continue reading…

FAITH

This we know: Unitarian Universalism calls us to be faithful doubters. Be cautious, says our tradition. Do not automatically believe what you’ve been told, especially when someone asks you to believe it based on their authority. Test it. Put it through the fire of your own experience, your precious power to reason and the gift of the scientific method. Click on the title (FAITH) to continue reading…