Habits are powerful, aren’t they? They can also be hard to make and easy to lose. As ye olde folks used to say, “coming to meeting” (i.e. coming to Sunday services at the Meeting House) is a habit—brand new for some, and many decades old for others.
Since I’m a minister, I think it’s a good habit. There are so many things about congregational life that are proven (by science!) to be good for our health and that of our young people: Being part of a multigenerational community. The physical acts of singing and listening to music. Practicing habits of gratitude and wonder, loving kindness and generosity. Remembering joy, experiencing rest, trying out silence. Making space to grieve. Finding support. Finding friendship- and not always with people who are just like you! The chance to participate in small acts of kindness, to find purpose in a new setting. Feeling empowered to take action and make a difference- no matter how small. Being seen. Being welcomed. Welcoming others. Starting to notice creativity, or the spirit of life, or the goddess/god as we go through our days.
In the town of North Andover, there is a conflict over the raising of national flags on the town flagpole- Israeli, Palestinian. Emotions are understandably running high. Again, I say, maybe we can take our energy and focus on what is in our control: offering space to grieve, being kind to each other, promoting respect in a pluralistic society and being generous towards humanitarian relief. I honestly don’t care which group people give to– groups like the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, or the Jewish Agency for Israel North American Council, or the International Red Cross (we sent them $700 this week from a special collection), or organizations that are working on other crises in the world like the UU Service Committee. There is enough need to go around. Every drop in the bucket helps.
Victor Hugo said, “The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.” Great acts of love are also done by those who habitually gather together.
With gratitude for our UU community,
P.S. The “sneaky task” for November is to help someone feel the abundance of life, but to do so anonymously! (Guest at Your Table works if you need an idea.) For those interested in reading the Robin Wall Kimmerer article about ecological economics/the economy of abundance from last week’s service, it is here.