The season of Lent (which begins Wednesday and continues through Easter) encourages Christians to acknowledge their mortality. It’s often considered depressing, which is why it’s proceeded with the blowout party of Mardi Gras. But acknowledging our limitations also means naming our gifts. Let’s do that.
Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels
For President’s day we look at another core principle that defines who we are as Unitarian Universalists: the principle that every human being is a source of wisdom and goodness, and that government at any scale should be built up from individual power.
For Valentine’s Day we look at love. The romantic expression of love flows from an even more powerful life force called Eros. It is the passion of Eros that inspires our justice work and whose energy we stand beside.
The seven principles of Unitarian Universalism are an attempt to express the values that we share. But even deeper than those are principles that we can access by asking “why are these seven principles important to us?” One answer, hinted in our fourth principle, is that Unitarian Universalism strives to be a reality-based religion.
Eventually we come to know ourselves. Like a Unitarian Universalist faith, defined by values, but expressed in a multitude of ways, at our center are our personal principles. This is the person I will be, whatever the circumstances where I find myself.
But we aren’t only forced to live out a destiny we inherit. We also shape ourselves. We choose. We respond. We explore our desires, imagine what could be, and walk in the direction of our health and happiness.
The Christian holiday of Epiphany (today) is the day Jesus became, or revealed (depending on your theology) who he really is. It’s a good opportunity to begin an exploration of identity. Who am I? Who are we? One important answer is that we are what our genes and culture formed us to be.
In the Christmas story, angels tell Joseph and later the Shepherds, “Do not be afraid.” Something wonderful but challenging is happening, the old order is disturbed. If we wish to change our lives or change the world around us we must accept risk, suffer uncertainty, and go to the place where “hopes and fears are met.”
Our Family service for Christmas Eve creates a living creche as the stable slowly fills with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, then Shepherds, Magi and animals. The crowded scene reminds us that symbolically all the world is gathered beneath that humble roof and invited to hold the baby.
Unitarian Christians regarded Jesus not as a supernatural savior, but as a role model of how an enlightened human person should take care of themselves and the world we share. As we end our study of leadership and prepare to celebrate Christmas we can ask, “How Would Jesus Lead?”