Normally, at the beginning of a new SUUF year we would say Welcome Back! These are not normal times, so I say, Welcome Forth! These are times that, I believe, we are being called forth, not back. These are times that try folks’ souls. These are times, this is a different season, as the Rev. William Ellery Channing said, “there are seasons, in human affairs, of inward and outward revolution, when new depths seem to be broken up in the soul, when new wants are unfolded in multitudes, and a new and undefined good is thirsted for. There are periods when to dare, is the highest wisdom.” I recently heard our President say that this is a time to reclaim the Soul of our country. To me, that means a call to go forth into new meanings of community, of interconnectedness, and a call to be what we want to see.
Let us know that, like the water we shall pour into our common bowl on Sunday, we all come from water: as a species on a planet where life began in the ocean, as mammals who float in amniotic fluid as we are readied for birth. We are beings whose cells are mostly water, seventy-five per cent water the scientists tell us. So, we have been apart–living a different rhythm in the summer months, and now we are reuniting. You know how water scatters into rain and streams and clouds and springs and ponds and puddles and yet flows together again and again, one great planetary ocean. And guess what…not only is no drop of water superior to any other; all water comes from the same place. Let us hold this in our hearts, let this be a true Water Communion!
I recently attended a meeting of the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council, where some dozen or more Ministers, Pastors and lay religious leaders gathered to discuss ways we could impact the issue of affordable housing and its impact on the Sedona community. You will be hearing more about this issue and the Interfaith council in the near future. What struck me about the meeting, and one striking reason that I bring it up, is that there was not a masked person in the group, in fact, not a mask anywhere to be seen. The next day I went to the VA for a medical checkup and you could not enter the building without a mask. These are the times we are living in. We want the Covid pandemic to be over. I want it to be over. It is not over. We shall continue, as a congregation, as a community, to do our best to protect the most vulnerable among us.
So, Welcome Forth into our new SUUF Year! Welcome forth into our shared vision of doing our best to be what we want to see. Doing our best to quench that thirst for what Rev. Channing called “undefined good.” These are our times to dare, this is my time, this is your time!