UUCA Connections, our monthly newsletter, includes service descriptions, columns from the Minister, Board of Trustees President, the Director of Lifespan Religious Education and the Assistant Minister. It also includes upcoming events, timely articles, and one page that is devoted to our Earth & Social Justice Ministry discussions and program offerings. Read Rev. Mark Ward’s column below, or click here to read the entire newsletter, and get a better feel for our congregation and how you would fit in!
MINISTER’S MUSINGS from the August newsletter
In a 2005 college graduation speech, the novelist David Foster Wallace chose this image from a Sufi story to illustrate his argument for the key to living a compassionate life:
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What’s water?’ ”
Wallace goes on to make the case that one of purposes of education is to help us become aware of what’s real and essential in life, things that are hidden in plain sight that we need to keep reminding ourselves of, that prompt us to say: “This, for us, is water.”
As I was thinking over our worship program this coming year I was taken by Wallace’s metaphor, which I believe speaks also to what we seek in our religious lives: to live with integrity and compassion in tune with what is fundamentally true in a way that connects us with our fellows and all things.
In June I invited a number of UUCA members to consider with me how Wallace’s words might guide us in choosing monthly themes for worship, and in a couple of hours we came up with a couple dozen ideas. From those I chose ten that I thought might inspire and challenge us in worship and small group reflection for the coming year. We’ll begin Wallace’s phrase “This Is Water” and consider in many ways how to name all that is around us that is essential to a spiritually grounded life.
The topics you’ll see as themes are:
- Awareness – To what do we need to become aware, and how do we do it?
- Default Settings – What are the routine, reactive ways of thinking that keep us from realizing who we want to be?
- Authenticity – Who are you, who are we, really, and what consequences does that have for who you, who we hope to be?
- Choosing to Choose – Taking ownership of our life and faith.
- Capital “T” Truth – How do we identify some fundamental truths to guide us?
- I Wonder – How do we approach the world and our lives from a posture of curiosity and wonder?
- Really? – Like all religious people, we can get caught up in arrogance, smugness & self-satisfaction. How do we respond?
- Freedom – What does freedom mean in a centered life?
- Laughter – When is laughter a spiritual discipline?
- Life Before Death – What does it mean to measure the success of our lives by the quality of our living?
Not only will you see these themes in monthly worship, but each month if you follow the “Worship Theme” link on the opening page of our Web site you’ll find some thoughts on the theme and resources gathered from the staff and the congregation to guide our small groups in conversation as well as individual reflection. Come join the conversation!
And finally, our theme is a reminder of one of our favorite traditions at UUCA that closes our summer worship: the Water Service, to be held this year on August 25. Our topic for this multigenerational service this year is “Our Water, Our Home.” This year plan to bring some water to share from your favorite spot, as we celebrate this vital link to the interdependent Web that joins us all.