January 2014 Newsletter

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

Rodin-hands-sculpture-webFrom time to time you may have seen this sculpture displayed on the table by the pulpit in our sanctuary or on a shelf by the window in my office. It’s a reproduction of a piece by Auguste Rodin. I was introduced to it at the Rodin museum on a trip to Paris many years ago. I was taken first by its simple beauty, but then I was even more intrigued when I learned its title: “Le Cathedral.” I talked it up a bit at the time of our visit, and later our daughter Anna kindly bought a reproduction for me as a present.

I keep it prominently displayed and look at it often because it seems to me such an apt metaphor for this religious community. It is a representation of two right hands that touch at the wrists and then at the fingers, creating a space between them that is both sheltered and intimate. This, it seems to me, is what we do here. By our commitment to community and our covenant with each other we create holy space where we each might be nurtured to know ourselves as worthy and connected to each other and all things, and encouraged – literally “given heart” – to be agents of freedom, justice and love in the world.

The great cathedrals of Europe were constructed at a time when the goal of religion was something like shock and awe. The massive structures soaring into the sky communicated eloquently where power lay in those societies and the folly of challenging a prevailing order in which church and state were knit together. Today they are glorious buildings to visit, stunning evidence of human ingenuity, and at the same time a caution of what can happen when religion gets a little too full of itself and confuses power with moral authority.

For me, Rodin’s image comes a little closer to what religion exists to do: to give shape and purpose to our aspirations as human beings, to help us see our unity, and appreciate the beauty and mystery of this world and this life, and to create a space where we can join in the work required to take us there in a spirit of compassion and joy.