Jun 27 2014

Transformation Through Forgiveness

Published by under Minister's Musings

“Transformation Through Forgiveness”:

A Photo Essay

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

On the first evening of the writers’ retreat that I attend in mid June, I walk to the back of La Casa de Maria’s property. For the next three days, eighteen women and I will explore the “underworld” in our writing, seeking sources of depth and value in our own woundedness. It will be a journey of transformation. But on that first night, I find myself in a small parking lot behind the room where we will write and write and write. There stands a glorious statue of a Native American, its shape changing subtly in the fading light. On the plaque at its base, sculptor Francis Jansen (www.graceinstone.com) writes: “Transformation Through Forgiveness” A National Monument for All Peoples This is a tribute to the Native American peoples and stands symbolically for the healing of all wounds, be they physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or environmental. “Transformation Through Forgiveness” is a call to all humankind for the reconciliation of “man’s inhumanity to man” and represents the acknowledgment in celebration of … “one whole nation, one whole world.” May the eagle soar to eternal heights and envelop humankind into the profoundness of our greater evolution. Here are the pictures I took of that statue, trying to capture its grace, sorrow, beauty, and hope. The last picture—a “tattoo” of leaves shadowed on the warrior’s back—holds for me the essence of our relationship to this Earth, of which we are an inextricable part. This summer, may you feel yourselves transforming into something even deeper and more whole than you already are. May we too be “transformed through forgiveness.” With great love, Rev. Nancy

Summer 2014 Engaging the Feminine Heroic warrior 2Summer 2014 Engaging the Feminine Heroic warrior 3Summer 2014 Engaging Feminine Heroic warrior 1Summer 2014 Engaging the Feminine Heroic warrior tattoo of leaves

P.S. Because the writers’ retreat was called “Engaging the Feminine Heroic”—using the myths of Demeter and Persephone, Inanna and Ereshkigal, to prompt a journey beyond gender into archetypal territory—I offer this second set of images. In another statue by Francis Jansen, “The Gathering,” we discover a mother figure whose face speaks volumes about Love itself.

Summer 2014 Engaging the Feminine Heroic mother and childrenSummer 2014 Engaging the Feminine Heroic 1

 

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Jun 04 2014

Introducing Nikira Hernandez – First Unitarian’s Field Education Student, 2014-15 by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

Published by under Minister's Musings

First Unitarian’s leaders, Rev. Geoff, and I are busy making plans for our “Year of Compassionate Troublemaking” in 2014-15. With great joy, I can now announce that our Board of Directors and the Program and Operations Council have accepted my proposal that we welcome Nikira Hernandez as our Field Education student for the coming year.

The Field Education Experience

With this field education placement, First Unitarian returns to serving as a “teaching congregation,” helping to shape the future leaders of our faith movement. Here, Nikira will witness how the members and staff of this program-sized Unitarian Universalist congregation work together to keep this “spiritual cooperative” vibrant and healthy. She will practice her teaching and preaching skills, participate in our social justice work, and help us prepare for our 150th Anniversary Celebration in 2015-16. Her questions and perspectives will help us to see afresh our strengths and the areas where we need to grow. Field education placements are a win-win arrangement for congregants and students alike, as we learn and serve alongside each other.

There is no financial burden to FUCSJ for next year’s field education placement. Instead, we offer the learning environment, the mentoring, and the support. Nikira will spend 12-15 hours a week on-site from September through May. She and I will meet weekly for reflection sessions on the practice of ministry, and together we will develop a Learning-Serving Covenant for each semester, spelling out her learning goals and the areas of ministry on which she will focus. Three to six of our congregants will form a “Teaching Parish Committee,” meeting with Nikira for an hour once a month. This committee provides feedback on her work, answers questions about congregational life, and helps Nikira establish the best practice of collecting and then incorporating lay members’ feedback into her emerging ministerial identity.

My conversations with Nikira, with her references, and with the director of Field Education at PSR have given me a glimpse of the wonderful person we will welcome into our midst for the coming year. I am delighted and grateful that Nikira sought us out as her field education placement. The next section lists her gifts, skills, and experiences. What interests and intrigues you the most? Please feel free to share your hopes and dreams for this new relationship with me at revnpj@yahoo.com. I’ll ponder your messages as I take time in July to rest and rev up for the coming year.

 

Nikira Hernandez

FUCSJ Nikira Hernandez photo 05-14

Nikira T. Hernandez has just completed her first year in the Master of Divinity program at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, where she has received the Presidential Scholarship, the school’s highest merit award. She received her undergraduate degree in environmental studies from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 2008, with a concentration on environmental justice. At Mount Holyoke, she chaired the team that sponsored Native American History Month, and she served as an officer with the Interfaith Council, which worked to promote tolerance and understanding among all faith groups on campus.

In Santa Cruz over the last few years, Nikira has served on the board of the Coastal Watershed Council. As Vision Keeper for Naraya, A Dance for All People, she has been responsible for the spiritual and administrative wellbeing of this Native American spiritual community. She has also coordinated programs for LGBT youth and foster youth at the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center and the Diversity Center, as well as serving as speaker and trainer for Triangle Speakers, a speakers’ bureau that works to eliminate fear, prejudice, and hatred against LGBTQ people. In 2004, she founded the Safe Schools Project in Santa Cruz County, recruiting and training local nonprofits and law enforcement agencies to raise awareness of the atmosphere that LGBT youth face on school campuses, to advocate for the enforcement of anti-LGBT bullying legislation, and to catalyze action in each school district.

With her partner, she owns and runs her own business, Light Hands Healing, an energy healing practice with a focus on empowering women to create change.

Nikira’s first official Sunday with us will be Homecoming Sunday, September 7.Please join me in welcoming Nikira Hernandez to our Beloved Community!

You, dearly loved community, have my enormous gratitude for the wonderful year we are completing and for the terrific year to come, which we will create together. May you too find some time for rest and renewal this summer—and may we “make Love visible” in all that we do and say!

With warmth and affection,

 

Rev. Nancy

 

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May 02 2014

May Theme: Freedom and Responsibility

Published by under Minister's Musings

Freedom and Responsibility:

A Year of Shifting the Balance

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

 Spring 2013:

A year ago, when the annual Worship Survey asks me about this month’s theme, Freedom and Responsibility, I type out this (slightly edited) stream of consciousness:

“More and more, I realize how much I value freedom. My fundamental focus—on how much choice we have no matter what our limited circumstances, on how much agency we have to effect change in our lives and in the world—implies enormous freedom. How much does this focus reflect an assumption that comes from my own unearned privilege, especially in my younger years growing up in an economically and socially comfortable family? And how much does it spring from my fundamental love for and faith in human beings and in life itself? I also heard an ‘On Being’ podcast recently about creativity brain research and how we need FREEDOM, we need space, to be creative![1]

“I LIKE responsibility, too—those ‘ties that bind,’ like our March 2014 theme, Covenant. Yet I know what discipline-compassion-responsibility fatigue feels like. I think of the research in Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, about how we must use self-control in every single moment—in every decision—and how our self-control can grow weary, so we become less able to make the best choices. Eating those brownies instead of choosing the fruit, for example! … Is all this related?”

 Spring 2014:

When I read those words from a year ago, I see a snapshot of myself then: nearing the end of the church year, hungering for freedom, space, creativity, rest, for hope and faith in our human capacities to change and in my own capacity to make a difference. I hear a struggle with “responsibility”—with how hard and persistent its call can be.

I still wrestle with those questions—yet the balance has shifted for me over the course of this year. Today, as I write, it is April 22, 2014: Earth Day. Today I would start my stream of consciousness with those “ties that bind” rather than with “freedom of choice.” I still have faith in our capacity and our freedom to choose the good, the life-giving, the compassionate—but I feel the urgent call of our responsibilities to each other and to this earth in my very bones, and I know that these responsibilities require some very hard choices. I have come to see how huge and complex are the adaptations we need to make in order to support life, all life, in our radically changing world. I can’t—I don’t want to—“lay this burden down.” Today my stream of consciousness begins: “More and more I realize how much I value and really feel our interconnectedness. It hurts, and it brings me joy.” Today my focus is not so much on “What do we want freedom from?” (from others’ control, from too many demands) but rather on “What do we have freedom for?” Toward what great purpose can we put our capacities for choice, for creativity, for love and connection? That’s my question, my friends, this May and as we move forward. Our answers will be so much wiser, so much more effective, more nuanced and beautiful because we seek them together. Let us dive in!

With love and commitment,

Rev. Nancy

[1]Listen to the On Being podcast at http://www.onbeing.org/program/creativity-and-everyday-brain/1879/audio?embed=1.

 

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Mar 26 2014

April Theme: Being a Body

Published by under Minister's Musings

Notice, Create, Post:  Join Us for Thirty Days of Embodied Spiritual Practices!

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

 

For two years now, I have signed up for the “photo-a-day challenge”—ten months of Unitarian Universalist ministers taking a photo each day and posting it to a special Facebook group. My beloved colleague the Rev. Michelle Favreault (http://riteherenow.com/blog/) creates this spiritual practice, urging us simply to slow down enough to notice … ourselves, the world around us, the present moment. Perhaps, when we really look, we’ll catch a glimpse of beauty; perhaps we’ll “reframe” our perspective on the day. It’s not about being great photographers—though taking photos every day and sharing them with others does teach me something about lighting, framing, composition, color. But it’s definitely not about being “good” at something. It’s simply about Being Present. Which is what makes it a spiritual practice.

The gift: It brings us back to a love of being alive.

Michelle posts a prompt for each day, which we participants are free to use or to ignore. The prompts range from the concrete (“Tooth”) to the abstract (“Trust”), and from the practical (“Weather”) to the whimsical (“Whether”). Participants play with the prompts, turning them into a play on words. We turn them upside down and do the opposite of what they suggest. We stretch them to encompass a whole new view. One day, when the prompt is “Smile,” I find myself sitting in a peace meditation group in the Circle of Palms. Through my downcast eyes, I notice the curving double lines in the California State Seal laid into the paving stones. I shoot a picture of just that, the burnished beads of the embossed symbol smiling up at me as I meditate.

Being a Body

At First Unitarian this April, our transformational theme is “Being a Body.” Being present. Paying attention to our senses. Noticing this embodied life we are given.

Let’s stretch the practice to include not just photography but also writing, journaling, pondering. Anything that takes us a moment or two yet brings us into our bodies, in the present.

How You Can Participate

Please join me for thirty days of an embodied spiritual practice!  Here’s how it works:

  1. Below you will find a prompt for each day in April. Use this prompt or ignore it—the point is to take a moment each day to slow down and notice. Take a picture, write a poem, scribble a descriptive paragraph about what your senses present to you—what you see, hear, taste, touch, smell.
  2. Then, post your photo or your writing to our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/FUCSJ. (You can sign up for Facebook for free.) We’ll get to share each other’s journey through the month. At the same time, send it to our newsletter editors at circular.editors@gmail.com. We’ll publish some of the photos, poems, and paragraphs in our May journal!
  3. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Just keep coming back to the practice, and noticing …

The Prompts

April

1                    Spring

2                    Yellow

3                    Touch

4                    Longing

5                    Up or Down

6                    Toes

7                    Dance

8                    Bud

9                    Orange

10                Taste

11                Grief

12                In or Out

13                Fingers

14                Write

15                Blossom

16                Blue

17                Scent

18                Love

19                Large or Small

20                Eyes

21                Music

22                Fruit

23                Violet

24                Sight

25                Joy

26                Flowing or Stuck

27                Hands

28                Paint

29                Silence

30                Self-portrait

One More Example

 

ReFraming Clergy Photo Group 03-19-14 orange blossom

When I walk out the door of my apartment right now, I am flooded with the scent of orange blossoms. Everywhere, the trees are in bloom, and the sweet gentle aroma envelops me like a bubble bath. As if today’s prompt were “Scent” (see April 17), I take a picture of buds bathed in sunlight, the round globes of the oranges just out of reach in the shadows. As I do, my body breathes in that very moment, grateful.

May this practice bring you awareness, peace, and joy! And may the sharing of it bring us closer to one another!

With love and faith,      Rev. Nancy

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Feb 24 2014

March Theme: Democracy and Covenant

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Democracy and Covenant: Acting Each Other into Well-Being

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

“Love [is] the power to act-each-other-into-well-being….

We have the power, through acts of love or lovelessness, literally to create one another.”

Beverly Wildung Harrison

February 2001: teacher Eileen de los Reyes stands on the stage of the largest classroom at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education to launch her popular course. “T128: Educating for Social and Political Change.” To the students before her, she throws out this challenge: “We are here to create a radically democratic classroom! And if we succeed, you will never want to teach in any other way.”

March 2014: We at the First Unitarian Church of San José jump into a month of exploring the spiritual and practical dimensions of “Democracy and Covenant.” Professor de los Reyes’s words ring in my ears. What did I learn through that class that will help us create the kind of community we long for?

I remember how hard it was for all of us—certainly for me—to stay awake to the play of power and privilege, to engrained lessons about who gets to speak the loudest and most often. I remember our discussion section—a group of 15 students of all ages from Argentina, Mexico, Palestine, Peru, Puerto Rico, the United States—wrestling with the interweaving of “the personal and the political.” How much time would we spend checking in with each other? How much time would we give to the content of our reading? How would we record our learnings and our progress toward that radically democratic classroom? How would we apply these lessons to all our relationships at school, at home, at work?

When I read through those old notes and papers, I see the messiness of creating a space where everyone is honored and valued. All those different perspectives, histories, identities, life circumstances, and more—of course it was messy! We each brought unique gifts and flaws to the table. “Equality” did not mean erasing those different capacities and personalities. We struggled, we got mad, we went through some major life passages. I see the depth of connection and care that grew among us. I remember how we changed each other. I see the goals that we emboldened each other to pursue. They are still, even now, a good measure of how well I am living up to my promises to myself and to them. We were bound together in democracy and covenant.

“Does real democracy always involve covenant?” one of you asks. Yes—I’ll be bold enough to say it—it always does.

What lies at the root of these entertwined ways of living? You guessed it: Love.

“Love [is] the power to act-each-other-into-well-being,” the late feminist professor Beverly Wildung Harrison writes. Right here at the First Unitarian Church of San José, I see the power of such love every day. And I also hear Love’s call to Step Up—to go deeper, to try harder, to notice more, to think more clearly, to widen Love’s embrace!

Did we students in “T128” really create a radically democratic classroom? I don’t know for sure. It’s an ambitious goal. But I do know this: the vision called us to Step Up. And we did—we stepped up. I will never forget it, and I want to live that way every day. Won’t you step up with me?

With love and faith,      Rev. Nancy

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Jan 31 2014

February Theme: Laughter and Playfulness “O What Is Laughter, Hafiz?” by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

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February Theme: Laughter and Playfulness

“O What Is Laughter, Hafiz?”

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

Do me a favor: If you have access to the Internet right now, go to Google, enter “laughing videos” in the search engine, and then click on one of the links. Go ahead, I’ll wait! In fact, I’ll meet you back here in … about an hour and a half.

 Sitting down to write you a learned essay about February’s transformational theme, “Laughter and Playfulness,” I find myself instead on a 90-minute journey around the world, following the trail of laughter one click at a time. I don’t end up actually guffawing today (maybe it’s the pressure of this deadline?), but the corners of my mouth turn up irresistibly as I watch person after person, from curious baby to blushing bride, from slick television professional to sober-sided elder, catch the giggles and pass them on. Some of my favorite videos bring up the same bubbling sense of joy on the twentieth viewing as they do on the first.

In “Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper,” we watch an intent baby, Micah, fumbling to rip the small piece of paper in his hands. His father, offering the baby a whole page from a household bill, tears off a big chunk. Micah bursts into laughter! With each succeeding rip, Micah laughs harder and harder, a whole-bodied chuckle that almost rocks him off his seat. He glances at his own little piece of paper, but he doesn’t quite have the dexterity to let ’er rip, so he looks back up at Dad with sheer joy and anticipation. Micah—like his dad and all of us strangers now watching—can’t get enough of the delight that each rip brings. Eventually, we start to feel joy for no reason at all, just for the sheer fun of it … which leads me to another video, of course. In this one—Google “Buddha on the Train”—an unassuming man gets on a crowded subway train and begins, quietly at first, to laugh, until the whole car is snorting with laughter alongside him, at which point he exits inconspicuously and takes a seat in another train, to start the process again.

Call it laughing yoga, or laughter medicine, or the sheer contagion of laughter … You can see how an hour and a half flew by before I knew it. Take a break, if you can. You’ll find Micah’s magic at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc.  The bodhisattva on the subway will teach you from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmDFt7Obz2U.

What makes laughter, in the right circumstances, so contagious? When does it draw us in? When does it make us open our hearts, our breath, and our mouths to join in, and when does it drive us away? Why do some of us hoot with laughter at the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, while others die over the Three Stooges? How do sources of laughter and playfulness differ from one culture to another? What, if anything, makes for universal delight? And why does the Dalai Lama laugh so often, anyway?

The 14th-century Persian poet Hafiz, rendered by Daniel Ladinsky in a small book called I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy, asks, “O what is laughter, Hafiz? / What is this precious love and laughter / Budding in our hearts? / It is the glorious sound / Of a soul waking up!”

The glorious sound of a soul waking up! Come, my beloveds, let us reawaken our sense of play and discover how contagious our delight can be. I can’t wait to see you in church!

With joy and anticipation,      Rev. Nancy

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Nov 01 2013

Shaking the Foundations: What Is the Ground of Our Being? by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

Published by under Minister's Musings

Way back in the day, when I am in high school in Dallas and attending the “largest Methodist church in the world” (as my father would say) on Sundays, a progressive Sunday school teacher introduces our class to the radical theology of Paul Tillich. Tillich, writing in the middle of the twentieth century, says that “God” is just a name some people use for the “infinite and inexhaustible depth” of life, for the “ground of all being.” If the word God doesn’t mean much to you, Tillich says, “translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation.” You may need to forget “everything traditional you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself.” The point is, to mine the depths of what it means to be alive and human and living in these times. To stay in touch what is most true and worthy of our attention, of our commitment. The vocabulary doesn’t matter.

            Sitting in that Sunday school class with “Ground of Being” written on the blackboard, I feel my world shift. The God preached from the pulpit of that Methodist church—a kind of puppet-master God meddling in the smallest details of every individual life, a mixture of Santa Claus (“he sees when you are sleeping, he sees when you’re awake”) and my elementary school gym teacher—disappears in an instant, and I drop down to a deeper truth. Not nameable exactly, but real and present. Like the moment when our feet touch the bottom of the deep end of the pool, and we can push back up toward air and sunlight.

            That morning I experience an earthquake in my thinking and feeling about religion—really, about life itself. My Sunday school teacher, and Paul Tillich, show me a wider, more inclusive world. They ask me to look for a deeper meaning in those daily high school struggles—classes, friendships, romance. They hint that even when our individual struggles feel unique and insurmountable, we really are all connected … in the struggle, in the meaning making, in Being itself.

            How difficult it is to stay grounded in that deep knowing every day! A thousand distractions, obligations, calls on our attention and our duty, pull us away from depth and make us long for more accessible comforts.

            So this November, let’s stop all that scrambling and look for clues as to what leads us to greatest depth in our living of each day. What is your Ultimate Concern? What lies at the foundation of your self so that, when you lose touch with it, you lose your way, you lose touch with your true North?

The ground of my being most often comes down to this: the authentic encounter with another—stranger, congregant, friend. A chance to witness to each other’s pain, joy, and growth. The strength and hope that walking together through this life—so beautiful, so tough—can bring. I call this ground Love, and religion, for me, is about finding ways to live it every day.

And still there’s more: As this community plunges into the truths of climate change and begins to rally with others to create and reclaim resilient, sustainable ways of being, the “Ground of Being” takes on a new, urgent, tangible meaning. Earth, humans, creatures, things—we are all connected here on this tiny planet. I want to give my life and work, without reservation, to the very real ground on which we live.

With all my love,

 

Rev. Nancy

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Oct 07 2013

Published by under Minister's Musings

October Theme: Evil

Waking Up to Beauty and Brokenness—Why We Look at Evil

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

On the morning of September 11, 2001—the first day of my last year at Harvard Divinity School—I stand in the registration area with clumps of shocked and silenced students. A giant TV screen has been set up opposite the weary registrars; our eyes and hearts track the unfolding news. I have my arm around a fellow student, a Muslim colleague, as the second World Trade Center tower falls. “This is all suffering!” she cries. “This is all suffering!”

In the aftermath of that day, as the litany of death tolls—in the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere—grows and grows, something else falls in me. Although I had certainly already experienced suffering and witnessed the harm that we humans can so, still I had held onto an overwhelmingly rosy view of humanity. Rumi’s “Every object and being in the universe is a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty” was—and is—one of my favorite poems. The poetry of creation still captures my faith in the human potential for good. No wonder Unitarian Universalism makes so much sense to me!

But beginning that year, 2001-02, and continuing to this day, I have been seeking an equally compelling “poetry of destruction.” I want wisdom, philosophy, religion, and ethics that make sense of our equally powerful human capacity for harm. Specifically, I want our faith, Unitarian Universalism, to look squarely in the face of these most troubling aspects of our lives, to parse their meaning and their roots, and to offer hope and guidance for a better way to live.

That’s why we here at First Unitarian take up the theme of “evil” this month. Our congregants’ responses to the theme (see “In Our Own Voices” in this month’s journal) offer clues to a Unitarian Universalist approach. Even those who don’t like the word evil want us to look at how the capacity to do great harm resides both within and around us. Many of us don’t want a dualistic interpretation; we see “good” and “evil” on a spectrum, sometimes blending into each other. Others resist calling persons “evil”—we all have our “inherent worth and dignity”—but they see how certain acts can be destructive, cruel, and harmful. Do these acts, then, qualify as “evil”?

Try on the definitions of evil that I have brainstormed: To harm or destroy with intention; to move actively in the direction of harm or destruction. More passively: to turn our view away from wrongdoing, to ignore our interconnectedness and our response-ability to engage in preventing harm. To not see and not respond to the harm and destruction happening around us when we have the capacity to see it—that is evil to me, especially when this harm occurs through systems of injustice and oppression into which we have been finely woven, often through no fault of our own.

I believe that if we don’t look squarely at the deepest wrongs in our lives and world—the injustices, the systems of oppression, the cruel and abusive acts, the willful ignoring of harm to ourselves  and others—then we condemn ourselves to being only half-alive. If we stay asleep, we isolate ourselves, cut ourselves off from our earthly kin and all existence, which can bring us joy as well as pain.

So I return to the great chorus of my ministry: Let us wake up! Let us wake up to, and live the both/and of, life’s beauty and its brokenness. There is so much more joy to be had when we live fully awake. Won’t you join us this month on this journey of awakening?

With all my love,

Rev. Nancy

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Aug 30 2013

The Journey of a Thousand Leagues Begins Beneath One’s Feet

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The sixth-century Chinese philosopher Laozi (also spelled Lao Tzu) offers this nudge to everyone daunted by a big vision for a better life: “The journey of a thousand leagues begins beneath one’s feet.”

Most of us know this version: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But I like the literal translation better. Laozi tells us that we are already on our path. We don’t need to leap tall mountains or ford raging streams to get there. The road we long for is the one where we stand right now. This very road will take us toward our dreams, lead us deeper into our lives, help us create the self and the community that we long for.

At our August Worship Associates gathering, we read aloud the Mission and Vision of this congregation. On that warm Saturday morning, surrounded by our team of lay worship leaders, the words strike my ears with fresh meaning. Sometimes these words have sounded beautiful but abstract, hard to turn into action. But this time, they have body, shape, power. I can name concrete examples of how we have begun to bring each phrase to life.

We are already on our road. With renewed energy and commitment, let us take our next steps.

When you read our Mission and Vision statements, what strikes you? How are you “making Love visible in word and deed”? How are we, as a community, making Love visible in word and deed? Let the specific examples rise up in your mind. It doesn’t matter whether these examples seem small or large. Every step counts.

Mission Statement

Bound together by our commitment to making Love visible, we gather to deepen our spirits, to work for justice, and to create one sacred family.

Vision 2015

We seek to build a religious community that makes Love visible in word and deed. Therefore we are called to:

1)      Create a caring, connected congregation that actively reflects the richness and diversity of our community, honoring and nurturing with justice and compassion all that makes each of us unique.

2)      Undertake bold initiatives to transform ourselves and our community.

3)      Worship together so that we connect with the divine, transcending the boundaries that limit us, to become part of something greater than ourselves.

4)      Care for, nurture, and empower the growth of our children and youth through vibrant and engaging lifelong faith development and social programs.

 We are already on the road to these ambitious, beautiful dreams. Now they are all the more urgent, and thus all the riskier. So, I invite you to take the hand of those standing near you. Now come, let us take our next steps. “One more step, we will take one more step”—day by day by day. Welcome to this new church year at the First Unitarian Church of San José!

With all my love,

 

Rev. Nancy

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Jul 24 2013

Beach Finds: Our Funny Hearts

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