War and Peace

“Inclusivity is our highest good; exclusivity is our greatest ‘sin’.”

– The Rev. Paul Oakley

“It is written in the Torah: ‘I call heaven and earth to witness today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.’”

– Deuteronomy 30

Yesterday I found myself looking up hymns under the category of “peace and war” in the index of our grey hymnal. Oh my dear people, it has been such a rough week in our wider world.

yellow daffodils

Such horrific, needless destruction and loss of life of civilians, women, children, men, soldiers of all ages in Ukraine. Such terrible news (again) from the 6th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that humanity’s mitigation and adaptation efforts have been drastically too weak and underfunded. Analysts say that the future has shifted in one week, and I suspect that many of us are feeling that.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, I hope you will include me- and church acquaintances and friends- on your list of folks to reach out to. Pat Scanlon reminds me that this war can trigger folks who have PTSD. May we treat each other especially gently, may we seek serenity and may we find courage to change the things we can.

Remember: If you need to limit your news consumption to keep yourself and your family or children steady, that is OK. With kids (or adults), “Looking for the helpers” and being a helper is a good strategy. As I said on Sunday, when international events are overwhelming it can help to focus on something- anything– that we can do to create stability and connection locally.  Some of us are also opening up our “spiritual toolboxes” and being a bit more intentional about making time for meditation/prayer/yoga, singing, walking in the woods, giving thanks at supper, spending time with kids or grandkids or friends, gathering for Sunday services- whatever helps us stave off overwhelm or despair and keep us in touch with the present moment, with community and purpose.

North Parish is a “hub of resilience” for the present and the future. I believe it is a necessary and profound endeavor as well as a communal act of generosity to sustain this inclusive, free-thinking faith community.  As we begin our official Stewardship drive this Sunday, I want to thank you all in advance for your incredible generosity- and for being people who care, who take action, who support one another.

Yours, a prisoner of hope,

Rev. Lee

P.S.  See here for a UU World article by Bruce Knotts, director of the UU Office at the UN, published on Wednesday that summarizes some Ukranian and UU history before this war.

See here to read the UU Service Committee’s statement on the war and see a list of organizations that are responding directly to the crisis.