Nov 25 2009

Living the Questions: Exploring Jesus’ Teachings

At some point in a worship service during this month of December, hundreds of Unitarian and Universalist congregations, all around the world and in many languages, will share a common reading as part of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists’ Global Chalice Lighting Project.[1] Just imagine: from Norway to South Africa, from New Zealand to Japan, in India and Indonesia, Pakistan and Poland, the Philippines and Finland, Burundi and Brazil, Canada and the Congo, the United Kingdom and the United States, people who share our multifaceted faith will be pondering the same words at just about the same time.

Here at FUCSJ, we are just now catching the crest of this wave. Looking back, I see that November’s words came from Canada, joyfully welcoming “visitor, friend, or long-time member, believer or doubter, joiner or loner, full of energy or plain tired, seeking a vision or a rest. You are welcome to join us as you are.”[2] The spirit of radical inclusion is universal in our faith, as this shared reading captures. Welcome home, everyone!

This month’s Global Chalice Lighting reading is a bit more somber, perhaps honoring the “dying of the sun” with the solstice or the “dying” of the year. But they are good words for describing why we come together in community at any time of year. Submitted by our own Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the words are by the Rev. Dr. Forrest Church. Imagine them echoing around the world, from congregation to congregation: “Knowing we must die, we question what life means. Final answers may elude us, but by living the questions, we create and discover meaning where we can.”

I think these words offer a good introduction to this month’s worship theme at FUCSJ: “What Can Jesus Teach Us UUs?” “Final answers may elude us” as we ask the question in this theme, but this month we will “live the questions” and discover meaning in new places. What will we discover from wrestling with and relishing Jesus’ central teachings? When we strip away centuries of interpretation of these teachings, when we quiet the external voices that claim to tell us about Jesus and listen instead to our own internal wisdom, what surprises might we find? What can Jesus teach us about love? About radical inclusion? About the problems and the possibilities of being “in a body”? About the relationship between power and wholeness, between healing and community? About ways of relating to others that can create “heaven on earth”? How will this holiday season grow richer when we live these questions?

Join us for this month’s explorations and meditations, for its stories, songs, simple pleasures, and sudden intuitions. “Visitor, friend, or long-time member, believer or doubter, joiner or loner, full of energy or plain tired, seeking a vision or a rest”—you are welcome here, just as you are. Welcome home!


With warmth and hope for a holiday season rich in meaning making,




[1]You can read more about the ICUU and see a map of all the member groups, emerging groups, and associates at To find the Global Chalice Lighting readings, just click on “Resources.”

[2] Phrases extracted from the full welcome by Rev. Ray Drennan, Canadian Unitarian Council, available at

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