Aug 31 2012

The Year of Cherishing, the Month of Compassion

Published by at 7:37 pm under Minister's Musings

Every time I mention to another Baby Boomer the theme for 2012-13 at the First Unitarian Church of San José, my conversation partner invariably begins to hum a popular song from the late 1960s—the Association’s “Cherish”:

“Cherish is the word I use to descri-ibe

all the feeling that I have hiding here for you insi-ide …”

You can watch a performance of this “oldie,” with a pretty funny introduction and some stellar sideburns, at (Gosh, the Association sounded so much more in tune when I heard them play this song live in 1969.)

But the themes of the Association’s “Cherish” are not exactly what we are aiming for when we call the coming church year “The Year of Cherishing.”

The word cherish rises from Latin roots that mean “dearness” and “friend.” Its roots are akin to the Sanskrit word for “love.” I chose this theme during my summer break, inspired by my sense of our universal longing to feel cherished by those we love and to offer our cherishing to all we hold dear. Yet unlike our first Unitarian Universalist Principle—in which we covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person—I believe that we must discern what we cherish and what we must not cherish (injustice, for instance, or abuse). Like most of us, I have questions about how we can best express our cherishing, especially in a culture that scoffs at anything that might seem sentimental. How can cherishing become something active, healthy, transformative? How can we expand the circle of what and whom we cherish?

Here, then, are my goals for our community during this Year of Cherishing:

1.     To deepen our understanding of what it means to cherish and be cherished.

2.     To expand our capacities for cherishing and our means of expressing our cherishing.

3.     To widen the circle of what and whom we cherish.

4.     To discern what it is that we are called to cherish and what we are called to reject/not cherish.

5.     And through all this, to learn to cherish life more deeply.

We will look at our monthly themes in dialogue with these yearlong goals. The theme for September is Compassion—and that’s what this journal is all about. In this election season, in this time of stress for so many, we need all the compassion we can muster. Here at FUCSJ, we are growing our compassion every week.

Please join us as we embark on another year of nurturing our spirits and helping to change the world. And please do know, each of you, that you are cherished!


With my love,


Rev. Nancy

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