A homily about our instinctive need to come together during times of crisis, and, when the crisis demands we don’t gather physically, how we can gather in other ways.
Speaker: Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels
Spring Forward! Time change occurs at 2:00 am, March 8. Adjust your clocks! For some, the goal of religion is not directed at improving the self but is directed outward toward improving the lives of others. The spiritual question of purpose, “What should I do?” becomes the generous offer, “What can I do, for you?”
The spiritual sense of “right” begins with intuiting a standard beyond our personal preference and then working to conform our lives to that standard. For some the standard exists in God, or a sacred text. For Unitarian Universalists the standard more often exists in a personal intuition about the best and highest for ourselves.
For many the goal of religion is simply peace. Indeed, “spirituality” often conjures images and feelings of peace, calm, stillness, equanimity. The spiritual goal of peace is not to overcome the challenges of life but to distance oneself from them, not to “win” with one side of the struggle against the other, but to unite the sides and forget the struggle.
Unitarian Universalists have had a difficult relationship with power, lately. But we don’t need to feel ambivalent about having power, only be more cognizant and careful about how we use it. Power is merely the ability to effect change in the world. Without it, no goal for a different future would ever be reached.
Some religious experiences are grandiose: miracles, theophanies, resurrection. But the unlikelihood of that model of instant total transformation can make spiritual growth seem impossible. In truth, the more reliable route to achieving our faith goals is through slow, steady work, and patience for incremental change.
Perhaps most of all, life should be fun. But joy doesn’t just mean happy. Or not even “very happy.” Joy means that sense of being completely engaged with the source of happiness.
There are dangers in life that are beyond our control. Spiritual health consists in overcoming the unfounded fears we face within. Trust that we are good enough, smart enough, and strong enough to make our own way through the challenges of life.
One of the qualities I love about Unitarian Universalism is that we strive to be a reality-based religion. We use the best tools of science and reason to start from an accurate description of reality. From that ground we build our faith to places that science alone cannot reach: from knowledge to wisdom.
For the rest of this church year we look at the goals of faith. What’s it for? There are both individual spiritual goals (what my faith does for me), which is where we will start, and there are broader religious goals (what my faith tradition hopes for all people), which we will get to in spring.