All Of The Above

“I love you more than Thoreau loved the woods!”

–a UU valentine

Photo of a valentine's day card that reads: Every day I thank God, the Universe, the Unnamed, the Spirit, Earth Mother, All of the Above, None of the above, for you. All of the above is checked off.I loved the comedic UU valentines that DRE Susanne Hinson-Rieger and RE Coordinator Jessica Carter had out at coffee hour last Sunday. I thought the one pictured here was not only funny but sums us up well.

It’s not the kind of valentine that most religious congregations would ever send.  (Check your own box?!  Thanking the Earth Mother?!  Thanking All of the Above?!  Or None of the Above?!)  Every UU “gets it” immediately. It could be used in a February UU marketing campaign.

Different words and images and understandings of the greater reality of which we are a part?  Check. The invitation to choose the box that works for you? Check. Offering gratitude every day? Check!

I’ve been thinking lately about how tough life was for historical NP members Cato and Lydia Freeman- about the early deaths of too many of their children and how few grandchildren were born. Life was so precarious in the 17 and 1800’s; mortality was not a distant concept to contemplate in old age but a present part of everyday life. That fact alone must have driven deep personal and religious struggle, experience, need for community- and the gift of every day.

Then I heard about the mass shooting in Kansas City Missouri on Valentine’s Day at a celebratory parade, with nine children among those shot. And I thought: Our youth today- and many adults- feel a similar sense of precariousness. Our medical know-how may have improved by light years but we are facing a public health scourge like no other- one that only gets worse because it doesn’t require developing a new vaccine or antibiotic or gene editing, but simply new, reasonable legislation.

I believe it is up to us to balance our young people’s knowledge of- and anxiety about- life’s precariousness with a sense of security, of being held and loved, of hope and wonder and everyday gratitude. This week, I heard the sweetest story from one of you about one of our preschoolers. He was singing our chalice lighting words to himself in the bath: “Because there is a light in me, I know there is a light in you!”

Gratitude every day? Check. Gratitude for this congregation and this faith, every day? Check.

Yours, in checking off “All of the Above”,
Rev. Lee

P.S. A reminder that we have two big lovely afternoon events this weekend. I hope many of you will come by Saturday afternoon (between 4 to 6) to enjoy each other, receive some appreciation, eat some good food, and engage our collective wisdom about what’s to come. And I hope you’ll invite some friends or family to the concert on Sunday at 3. I’ve seen the program and it will be powerful!