It’s a new year by our calendar. It’s a new year by the sun and the stars and the moon. It’s a time when so many of us make plans to change who we are, how we are in the world, how we are living in our bodies. We make resolutions to change our wretched, lazy lack of discipline in some area of our life and to start anew with new discipline and commitment and focus.

What if, rather than looking at ourselves and deciding that we are broken or undisciplined or unworthy we decided to know deeply that we are each and all held in a deep and powerful love that we cannot earn and that we cannot ever come to the end of. This is what my faith tells me is true about myself and my neighbor. We Unitarian Universalists affirm that each and all of us is born with worth and dignity and that we are part of a vast web of interconnection with all of life.

How might we plan differently if we started from that place? What if we asked ourselves how we are living out our deepest values in the world? in our lives? in our families and relationships? with our neighbors. What if we committed ourselves to deepen connections, to be better at choosing to act from our deepest values, to take better care of ourselves because we are made in the image of love? Can we build some habits and resolutions around those choices? Practices that remind us who we are and how we are connected and held in relationship and in faith.

Because we need these practices in our lives when trouble and mess and anxiety come—as they always will—in small doses or overwhelmingly huge doses—one of the things that can get us through, that can provide us perspective, that can remind us of our humanity and our hope, that can recall us to seeing the beautiful and wonderful in life are those hobbies and habits that we have built and nurtured and crafted for ourselves, those practices that ground us and give us space to be fully human in the face of all of life’s wonders and dangers and which allow us to reach out to each other in community and work for justice in the world.

So rather than plan to fix yourself this January, how can you build practices that make it possible for you to remember the values at the core of your life, to greet your neighbor as your kin, and share in blessing our common life with beauty and love and commitment?

Minister’s Message Recent Posts

How do we respond to the pain and anxiety and violence in the world around us?

My friends,
As I sit to write this column for you there are bombs and deadly artillery falling on the people of Ukraine, there are children and families in Texas and Florida whose governments are telling them that their love and very existence is wrong and abusive and abhorrent, and there are still thousands and thousands of people sick and dying in our communities and around the world—dying from disease, but also from a lack of care and love and commitment to health for all.

Bread not Stone: A Bowl of Stones and Shells

Dear Friends,
I have a little bowl of stones and shells on my bedside table. I know that they came to me, one by one, from almost every place I’ve been and moments I’ve shared with loved ones and colleagues. But I couldn’t tell you where each individual stone came from.

Bread not Stone: Minister’s Message

My friends,

As I sit to write this column for you there are bombs and deadly artillery falling on the people of Ukraine, there are children and families in Texas and Florida whose governments are telling them that their love and very existence is wrong and abusive and abhorrent, and there are still thousands and thousands of people sick and dying in our communities and around the world—dying from disease, but also from a lack of care and love and commitment to health for all.

Bread not Stone: Living in Love

February is a time when we often focus on love in all of the ways it plays out in our hearts and lives.
I am so often inspired by the words and thinking of others, and so this month I wanted to share with you some things that inspire me when I think about love and how we craft it together.

Bread not Stone: Beloved

Last month I shared from the pulpit my conviction that the values that we share and express as Unitarian Universalists call us to do the work of love, justice, and inclusion. For me, this is not just the work of one sermon or worship service but our daily lives.

Bread not Stone: Gathering

When I was at university in Toronto, I was usually unable to travel back to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving weekend and so I would usually have Thanksgiving dinner with my aunt’s family there in the city. (I was in Canada, so Thanksgiving was in October!) It was always a wonderful time. The opportunity to gather together around food was wonderful, of course, but it was also deeply meaningful to gather together around ideas and values: family, gratitude, generosity.
I know that our congregation and our UU tradition and values have become that gathering place for so many of us. A place we can gather together to explore our values, to hear and share stories of our lives, to be grateful for what we have, and to be mindful of how we live together in the world.