From Your Minister

Rev. Diana Smith

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Dear Ones,

In April we will be exploring the value of Interdependence. The proposed revisions to Article II describes the value of Interdependence in this way:

  • Interdependence: We honor the interdependent web of all existence. We covenant to cherish Earth and all beings by creating and nurturing relationships of care and respect. With humility and reverence, we acknowledge our place in the great web of life, and we work to repair harm and damaged relationships.

It’s so appropriate that we’re exploring this value during this month when we celebrate Earth Day and “Spring for Change” with the UU Ministry for Earth. After all, Interdependence has deep roots and vibrant shoots in Unitarian Universalism.

In the early 1800s, our Universalist ancestor Hosea Ballou asked, “How are we bound up together?” He answered that salvation for each person is bound up in the community as a whole: “One’s lot is cast with the rest of the human race.” We can start to appreciate how radical his statements were when we notice that he preached that all of us are one organic whole and all people are essential to our salvation. No one is left behind. As he wrote, “I neither expect nor desire perfect happiness while I see my fellow-man in misery.”

In the 1800s, our Unitarian Transcendentalist ancestors, people like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, also helped us notice and articulate in new ways how we are intricately interconnected with all life. As Margaret Fuller wrote in her “Recollection of Mystical Experiences,” “I saw there was no self; that selfishness was folly, and the result of circumstance; that it was only because I thought self real that I suffered; that I had only to live in the idea of the ALL, and all was mine. This truth came to me, and I received it unhesitatingly…”

Ballou’s words connected theology, social justice, and questions of our ultimate meaning or purpose. Fuller helped us understand how out of suffering and lonliness we can make meaning. She helped form Transcendentalism. While much has changed in 200 years, our Universalist and Unitarian beliefs in our deep interdependence and interconnection hasn’t. It drives our justice work and how we center love in our interpersonal connections, our congregations, and in our work with our communities and the Earth.

To that we’ve added deeper understanding of how our world works, of ecology, and of what our responsibilities are to Earth. During this Earth month, let’s join together to Spring for Change! Will you join me as we lean into exploring and living into what our value of Interdependence means to us and where it’s calling us now?

Love and Blessings,
Rev. Diana

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