The experiences of wonder and awe are our birthright as human beings. We admire these qualities in children and remember during this holiday the “wonder of the season.” Yet, wonder is not limited to one time of life or one season of the year. It … read more.
Speaker: Rev. Larry Peers
Hanukkah and Advent converge on this Sunday to give us spiritual reminders from the religious traditions of Judaism and Christianity that even when it is not immediately apparent there is “more Light somewhere.” Even in challenging times, we can rededicate ourselves to what is right. Even if it takes time to unfold, we can still nurture our hopeful expectations. We will, with contemporary poetry, song and ritual, remind ourselves of these enduring lessons of the human spirit in Hanukkah and Advent.
Religious language can never adequately satisfy our human desire to capture and to express our most profound experiences. Recent research by a Jefferson University Hospital neuroscientist and his colleagues confirm how prevalent and diverse spiritual or poignant experiences are and the lingering impact they can have on our lives. Even when we use religious language, we don’t all mean the same thing by the words that we use. I believe that Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev. F. Forrester Church expressed it well when he said that “God is not God’s name. God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in each.”
Life provides us with many welcomed and unwelcomed opportunities to try to “make sense of” our experiences and the world around us. Sometimes we find meaning in very positive experiences and sometimes in adversity as well. Emily Esfahani Smith says that there are four “pillars” upon which meaning rests.” We’ll explore those “pillars” and some common everyday practices that can help us to savor “all that is our life.”
Scholar of religion, Karen Armstrong, says that, “Religion isn’t about believing things. It’s about what you do. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.” In this service we’ll build upon the theme of compassion and look at practical ways to cultivate compassionate that changes us as well as our actions.
The poet, Denise Levertov, writes: “But we have only begun /to love the earth. /We have only begun /to imagine the fullness of life. /How could we tire of hope? – so much is in bud.” Sometimes, we do “tire of hope.” Sometimes, it feels … read more.
Terry Tempest Williams said, “The human heart is the first home of democracy.” Each of us can be part of cultivating particular “habits of the heart” that make democracy possible and assist us in participating in healing the wounds and diminishing the divisions in our polarized society, or between people with differing perspectives and experiences.
“Life is just a chance to grow a soul,” according to Unitarian Universalist minister A. Powell Davies. In this service we will draw inspiration from the Jewish High Holy Days and other sources as we reflect together on perspectives and practices for cultivating our soul. Of course, the word “soul” can seem problematic to some. Metaphors are helpful. Hasidic Jews call it the “spark of the Divine” in every human being. Buddhists call it the “Big Self.” Quakers call it the “Inner Light” or “Inner Teacher.” A contemporary writer and my friend, Parker Palmer calls it the “being in human being.”
We stand together on a new threshold in the life of this congregation and perhaps in our own lives. Threshold moments are holy moments that remind us of where we have been, where we are, and where we want to be. How do we approach … read more.