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Sunday, December 4 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
In many Latin American countries we celebrate Las Posadas, a pre-Christmas tradition recreating the arduous journey of Mary and Joseph fleeing from violence and seeking refuge. In the United States, many churches incorporate this tradition as an expression of solidarity with all immigrants and refugees. We are reminded that we are a living sanctuary and a welcoming congregation. Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa will be preaching.
How to Attend
We require masks in all buildings. We encourage all in person participants to be vaccinated. Read more about our In Person Guidelines here.
• To virtually attend, please Zoom in using room number 989 3107 9078, passcode: chalice.
• To phone into the service, call 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 989 3107 9078.
For those joining, please mute as soon as you enter the room, so everyone can hear. Please note, the services will be recorded, but at this time, there are no plans to share the recording.
Religious Education for children and youth happens during worship on Sundays. Children and youth arrive in the Sanctuary for the just a little bit and welcome in Sunday with a story and song. Then, they attend their own programs in the Education building. Learn more here!
If you don’t have a chalice, but want to light one, check out our Making a Chalice at Home page.
Both virtual and in person services are followed by coffee hour.
I am From…
I am from
The flowering desert of Copiapó
The sinking mining town of Tierra Amarilla/Yellow Earth
The adobe walls of my grandmother’s home
Her hanging herb garden growing in rusty tin cans
Bursting towards the sun.
I am from
A long line of women
With strong hands
To knead bread,
and give shape to love
in times of war.
I am from
Hips dipped in moonlight and gleaming
Where the weeping willows dance.
I am from
Re-used tea leaves,
Erasers made of bread crumbs,
I am from silent screams
Clandestine torture chambers
And rivers that ran red
I am from empty tombs
And thousands of mothers
Asking “Dónde están mis hijas?” “Where are my children?”
I am the illegal alien
Proud Broken Spanglish speaker
Who recites 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair
In the face of English only legislation.
I am from
The Pehuén tree
Growing red copihue vines
On the soles of my feet
As I step into the #4 train to the Bronx
Practicing being invisible…
I am from
That I cross everyday in my heart
To get closer to yours.
I am from:
I am from
the side glance,
the breath of my ancestors
with more than one cause…
I am from
I am from
once a year…
I learned early
Grain of sand
Holding in its heart
Of the rainbow…
And if I were to ask you where you are from, what would you say?
We are from so many different places, people, ancestors, gardens, quilts, stories, symphonies and silences. And yet, we are made of the same cosmic dust; We are kin to the stars. We have so much more in common than we have differences and yet at times we see each other as strangers on a large scale we might see the immigrant and refugee as a stranger and on a micro scale right here we might see each other as strangers.
Practicing radical hospitality means the doors of our sanctuary and the doors of our hearts must be open for everyone.
Those of us coming from orthodox and fundamentalist religions, those of us connected to nature thru pagan & wiccan ritual those of us finding spiritual nourishment as atheists and humanists engaged in the work of social and environmental justice those of us coming from catholic and buddhist backgrounds those of us who identify as cisgender bisexual lesbian gay pansexual transgender non binary white black latinx asian multicultural those of us with hidden or apparent disabilities those of us from upper middle or working class; young, aging and old; all of us seeking a safe and brave space to bring our whole selves, to belong, and to build community. The month of December is a great example of radical hospitality we celebrate Diwali Hanukkah Las Posadas the Winter Solstice and Christmas eve; We sing together light one candle for the macabee children don’t let the light go out; and en nombre del cielo les pido posada in the name of heaven we are tired we are weary please give us shelter and O come O come Emanuel and silent light holy night son of God love’s pure light ; these lyrics have different meaning for different people and yet when we sing together that song brings us closer; erasing all borders; reminding us that practicing radical hospitality means we welcome new friends just as they are; they might bring new songs and new ways of being very different from us; new people might make some longtime members less comfortable in their own spiritual home; every visitor and potential member comes seeking shelter, acceptance, recognition, unconditional love; The people who come thru these door are sent to us by the universe so that we can live into our values and honor the inherent worth and dignity of evey person; They are a gift that activate our values and principles, calling us, especially those who already know comfort, safety, and belonging, to be the first to bid them welcome: Come Come whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome here; You need not leave at the door your sorrows, rituals, stories, songs, and your particular notions of the divine; bring them all! We have the good fortune and responsibility of being a welcoming congregation that draws inspiration from a deep well of spiritual resources that will hopefully inspire and touch you. We are a living sanctuary, offering shelter from the forces that would make some of us invisible and deny our inherent worth and dignity. Yet we sometimes find ourselves divided and all we can see is our difference.
Let us remember that we have more in common than differences. When I think about where I am from, in addition to the places where I grew up, and the many places I have lived, I am from the people who nurtured me, my mother, my grandmothers and aunts and cousins who loved me into being, who illuminated my path, and saved me from despair. I am not only from my birth family, but also from my family of choice, my teachers, my students, my gardens, my music, my books, my dreams. I am also from the congregations I have served and now I am also from here, from this community, where I have the blessing of practicing communal radical hospitality. I call this my community and spiritual home knowing that we are rich in our diversity and that we strive to find common ground. That we might be sitting next to someone who is afraid to share their story, afraid of being rejected, afraid that their song, or their prayer might not be embraced.
Among us we have people who have seldom experienced meaningful inclusion: They may be neurodivergent or on the spectrum, or identify as trangender, gender non-conforming, pansexual, or non-binary, or find comfort in prayers and hymns that include God, Jesus, and Mother Mary, or came here seeking refuge from racism, or wear both a star of David and a chalice. Right now we have people among us who are seeking refuge from other churches, including our own UU churches, where they do not feel safe or loved. They are all our children. They are all our siblings. They are all refugees seeking safety and kindness. Will we open the door? Will we greet them with joy? Will we embrace their authentic selves? Will they find in us a living sanctuary?
Beloveds, this place, this community of faith, unites us, offers us the opportunity to practice radical hospitality whether the refugee comes from across the ocean, our neighborhood, our own family, or the row in front of us. Our gift, our blessing, is the capacity to stretch our hearts, to sit with discomfort, to appreciate someone else’s joy and spiritual strength rooted in a different religion, a different way of praying, a song that names the divine as a tree, Goddess, Jesus, earth, breath…
There are all kinds of refugees, Mary and Joseph’s journey might seem to some of us so un-UU, too Christian, too remote from our own beliefs…and yet their humanity, their arduous journey, their fear, their weariness, their pain of being rejected, the lack of kindness they faced over and over again, makes them like us…May we remember that everyone who walks thru these doors is a pilgrim, a seeker, someone looking for safety, for belonging, looking for a spiritual home where they can bring their authentic selves and flourish. May we open the doors of our sanctuary and our hearts wide enough to welcome all refugees. So when they are asked where are you from? They will name East Shore as their sanctuary. Amen?