Today we will welcome new members into our community as we celebrate all the courageous love being shared, on this final Sunday of 30 Days of Love.
It does not have to be
One step upon the Sky’s soft skirt
Would be enough.
Just one True moment of Love
Will last for days.
Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics
For Knowing Love,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
So far from Summer’s Divine Gold.
Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.
Give me back my wings.
Lift me nearer.”
Say to the sun and moon,
Say to our dear Friend,
“I will take you up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful Dance You promised.”
~ Hafiz ~
The UUA’s Standing On The Side of Love office has been observing 30 Days of love since Monday, January 16- and they will be continuing until Tuesday, the 14th, the 8th Annual National Standing on the Side of Love Day! Every year the 30 Days of Love focuses on a different theme- Thirty Days of Love 2017: asked participating congregations to Fortifying the Movement – lifting up the ways Unitarian Universalists and many of our partner organizations are building and organizing by taking bold, courageous action for intersectional racial justice.
30 Days ago I asked you to open your hearts to courageous love- the kind of Love Dr. King spoke of- not mushy, star eyed romantic love but love that has the power to transform…
I have witnessed much courageous love here at East Shore…
Your Ministerial Search committee demonstrated courageous love for this congregation today by suspending their search for a settled minister- affirming that there is work to be done here before a settled minister would be welcomed and be successful- not a popular choice I am sure…. I will be there are and were a multitude of reactions flying around the sanctuary after their announcements- It take courage to do the right thing, rather than the easy or popular thing.
Jack Slowriver has demonstrated consistent courageous love in their leadership of this congregation- consistently following by laws and process, not giving into angry demands, or punitive, judgments. Jack has consistently and wisely done the right thing for this institution, creating strength and integrity where there has been inconsistency and subjective choices.
Jenny Souk is showing courageous love for this congregation and the members of her Gallery team- negotiating, and navigating the changing nature of East Shore, holding on to what is essential for the gallery and the Gallery members while making room for change, other voices and other needs for the foyer space.
Amanda Strombom and Chris Edwards courageously and with love for East
Shore stepped up to manage the Operating Fund Drive in this transition al year where we want to do some things differently and also want to keep faith with traditions that have meaning and inspire belonging- Neither one of them had the time or the passion to step into an operating fund drive- and both, seeing the need stepped in and up to serve.
Many of the small groups participating in last weekend’s Building Our Future summit demonstrated courageous love as they managed their uncertainty about directions, their frustration with fumbling in the dark to produce something they did not quite understand. They managed their disappointments and frustration, worked hard and courageously with love focused on what was possible not what was wrong- They were rewarded for their courage with a sense of satisfaction, connection and energy for a job well done-
Our nation is full of courageous love right now- Republican Senators, Susan Collins from Maine and Lisa Murkopwski from Alaska had the courage to break from the Republican ranks to vote against the confirmation of Betsy Devos for Secretary of Education… And WA’s own Judge James Robart had the courage to block President Trumps’ travel ban. Then! That evening, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Robart’s ruling and upheld the Temporary Restraining Order in WA vs. Trump. The preliminarily concluding that significant and ongoing harm was being inflicted on substantial numbers of people, to the detriment of the States and that the States were likely to be able to prove that the Executive Order was unlawful.
… and the leaders of the House Oversight Committee have requested that the Office on Government Ethics discipline Kellyanne Conway for promoting Ivanca Trump’s clothing line on national TV- Geez!
Any time a loved one structures an intervention on behalf of a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol to get them into treatment- or leaves a lucrative job and comfortable life to care for a ailing loved one- that is courageous love.
Courageous loves ends the life of a suffering pet- goes against norms and expectations to do the right thing whether you are the chair of the Senate ethics committee, or the chair person of a church Board of Trustees.
It takes going against what is comfortable to develop a courageous heart- just like any muscle- a courageous heart must be developed- maybe start small- get out of your comfort zone by calling a senator or congressional representatives about some new issue that troubles you ask them to investigate, confront, challenge or change.
Think for a moment- what courage do you need right now to act on love- for self- or other- what discomfort could you endure to do the right thing?
Courageous love serves something greater than self- preservation, something greater than comfort, expediency or the status quo.
WE must not only love others- it takes courageous love of self to escape an abusive relationship, enter a drug treatment facility, leave a well paying job for emotional and spiritual health.
Karen Armstrong said, “ Religion isn’t about believing things. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.
In the face of cynicism, and brutality around us and within us, courageous love inspires us to to align ourselves with a living community that seeks to affirm rather than despair; that would think and act rather than simply adjust and succumb. . Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. To grow courageous hearts we need a circle of healing- a circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.
To grow our courage – we need people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. We need a circle of hands that will open to receive us, eyes that will light up as we enter, and voices that will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.
On this Sunday- and every Sunday, may we invite the alchemy of our shared humanity and the healing powers under, around, through and beyond our human spirit to give us the courage, the grace, the compassion and the sensitivity to search out the truth that frees and the life that maketh all things new- So may it be- Amen and Blessed Be