We make space for prayer and meditation in our Sunday worship, but prayer is also an individual spiritual practice for some. Prayers come in many types, and for Unitarian Universalists “praying” has many forms and meanings.
Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels
Dance and other forms of movement can be a spiritual practice. Yoga explicitly is about joining the mind and body and the individual and the divine (the word “yoga” has the same root as the English work “yoke”). Tai Chi does the same. And for some, running a marathon, or lifting weights can have the same spiritual result.
Many religions include a spiritual practice around eating a communal meal (The Eucharist, the Passover Seder) or not eating (fasting for Ramadan, Yom Kippur, or Lent). Eating together at a church potluck, or being mindful of the ethics of what we eat are common ways Unitarian Universalists participate in this spiritual practice.
Making music is a powerful form of spiritual practice for many. In church, Unitarian Universalists sing hymns, sing in the choir, play an instrument, clap hands. Communal music making illustrates the fundamental spiritual principle of individuals working together to create something of beauty and joy greater than what they can create alone.
The most familiar form of spiritual practice for most Unitarian Universalists is our Sunday gathering: our communal practice of joining in worship. Our form of worship, inherited from the Protestant Christian tradition emphasizes the word, other forms of worship practice include ritual and participating in the sacraments
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The same way that you achieve any big goal in life, including spiritual goals. For the Ingathering service of our 2019-2020 church year we introduce the theme for our fall: a look at the forms of spiritual practice, in spiritual community, individually, and publicly.
Some government programs are set up as a right, meaning everybody gets it for free, like public school. Other programs are set up as a charity, like food or housing, where, if you can’t afford it (and qualify) the government will provide assistance. Do people have a right to healthcare? Is free college a right even for people who can afford to pay?
Death is a fact of life, the final fact, you might say. Linda Banez-Kay bought a sermon from me at last year’s Service Auction and she asked me to help the congregation think about and prepare for death. There is much to consider: spiritually, emotionally, practical considerations, and the consequences of our death for the people and the world we leave behind.
The political debate over abortion rights has been intractable since Roe v. Wade, and rages anew today. The core issue is that one side has a vision that sexual activity belongs to a person and wants a world where the negative consequences of sexual freedom are minimized, the other side has a vision that sexual activity belongs to society and want a world where the dangers of sexual freedom are maximized.
Religious forces are behind many of the most serious conflicts and debates of our time (e.g. see next Sunday). What is it about religion that inspires people to such extremes? Would we be better off without it entirely? And what does that say about our own religion, Unitarian Universalism?