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Topic “Minister's Message”

From Our Minister

The following is Rev. David's column in the December issue of Contact, our church's newsletter. Take time to read his thoughtful message; it's a positive one and a good reminder of our humanity and connection with each other. His story may help you recall a time when you had a personal revelation that reminded you of a once forgotten truth.
David wrote,
"We cannot properly place our confidence in our own creations; we must depend upon a transforming reality that breaks through encrusted forms of life and thought to create new forms. We put our faith in a creative reality that is re-creative. Revelation is continuous.”
--James Luther Adams, 1901-1994. UU Minister and Theologian

I had a revelation in the men’s department of Macy's -- not a shopping-related spiritual experience, but capital-R Revelation. This was years ago in Minneapolis, on a Friday morning in November: 8:10 am. The second-floor skyways of the city, build to protect from the winter cold, cross over streets and through stores. On that cold morning I was walking to a meeting, surround by a hundred other commuters walking to work through the men’s department.
The day before I had met with a family who suffered a profound and unexpected loss. The matriarch of that family—the one who held them all together for decades—had died, and died younger than she should have. The family gathered—grown children, a husband just stunned, in shock—to tell the stories of her life, to plan for a memorial service. They spoke about her as people do in the moment, in the present tense. Home that night, late in the darkness, I had wondered for a long time with grief and gratitude to have companioned that stunned and hurting circle.
And then: Friday morning. Walking through the Macy’s, the stillness of that night was with me, an interior quiet. It seemed as if every person was alien: as if I were set apart from every other person by the weight of sorrow I carried.
But in a moment of unbidden Revelation it all reversed and I knew that every person in that place carried that same grief—they had or they would, someday. Every one of them would gather, at a church, or a house, or bar, or club, to tell stories about the person they loved who was gone. And the very grief which I had felt as a solitary burden setting me apart in fact connected me with every other person, close as life itself.
In that moment, just for an instant, I was filled with an old and fierce and wild joy. Like seeing everything in focus all at once: an intuition of the immensity of this place, this world, and the dearness, importance, preciousness of each person in it.
You’ve had that sort of experience, too. Some variety of it, big or small, for an instant, or an hour. You’ve seen and felt unveiled the bonds that bind each to all. That thing which we call an interconnected web, perceived with heart, not mind. That’s revelation: a transforming reality breaks through to show a fundamental and easily-forgotten truth.
Most of life isn’t like that. Most of life is traffic and dishes, laundry and email. It’s trying to figure out how your health insurance works and where your children are going next. No different for any of us.
But if revelation can arrive at 8:10am in Macy’s on a Friday in November, it can come at any time. Revelation isn’t something that happened long ago. It isn’t something that can
come only in certain forms or signs or symbols. Revelation is transforming, creative, surprising, and above all, continuous.
In this season of darkness and cold, when we retell an ancient story that calls us home to hope, may unexpected joy and connection break through into your life.
In hope,
Rev. David

Message from Rev. David

The following is an excerpt from our minister's column in the November issue of Contact, our monthly newsletter. Thanksgiving brings thoughts of pilgrims and Puritans. David reminds us that while we have abandoned our religious ancestors' belief in a cruel God, the earliest colonists have a lot to teach us about focusing on the common good.
FROM OUR MINISTER
"Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones
you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values."
Ralph Ellison
"Among our ancestors are the Puritan Separatists who founded Plymouth. Nearly two centuries after the colonists landed, those congregational churches would vote to call Unitarian ministers. The First Parish Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the very one founded by the pilgrims in 1620, is Unitarian today. Like us, they bound their churches together by covenant, the promises they made to each other about how they would dwell together. Like us, they had a congregational polity which knew no higher human authority than the congregation itself, in which the minister and teacher were elected by the members.

The Puritans were on the one hand, wholly invested in their relationship to the all powerful, terrifying, cruel god of their understanding they were closer in years to the middle ages than to the present day. But they also believed deeply in the commonweal; the common good, the welfare and wellbeing of all. Their commitment to the common good became so fundamental to the New England psyche that when the time comes for statehood, the citizen of Massachusetts did not become a state, but rather, a commonwealth.

The Puritan colonists invested their lives in each other. They did not think of themselves as private, autonomous people. Instead, they fundamentally understood that they were part of a body: they were one single, whole people, all together, and that their lives depended on each other. Not just their livelihood, not just their survival, but their lives. And in this, they are our ancestors."
Click on CONTACT to the left of this page to read David's article in full.

Message from Rev. David

If ever you were thinking about attending the Beverly Unitarian Church, our minister's message in the church's October newsletter will have you running to the castle on a Sunday for a front row seat.

He writes, "This castle church is no sandcastle to be washed away. Against the rising tides of the world and the storms of our spirits, this house will hold us. Against the steady erosion of rights and dignity, and the whirlpools of half-truths, this house will hold us. Not as a mighty fortress, not as a defensive wall to hide behind, but to lift up and renew the steadfast endurance of our spirits, so as we go into the world again, week after week, we take something of this calm repose with us.We come together to lift up and renew the steadfast endurance of our spirits, so as we go into the world again, week after week, we take something of this calm repose with us."

You can read Rev. David's complete message by clicking on Contact to the left.

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Buddhist Meditation

Reverend Marcia Curtis invites you to participate in a Buddhism-based meditation in a group setting. Join us Sundays at 7:30pm in the church sanctuary. Newcomers welcome.

Religious Education

       

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