As I reflect on this month’s spiritual theme of beloved community, I find myself circling back to what prevents us from being in beloved community. There are personal or individual factors: pride, ego, experiences of hurt and trauma, what we have been taught and what has been reinforced. Even harder are the larger social and cultural factors: binary thinking like us and them; conflict defined as bad, so we don’t learn how to transform it; laws, rules and norms that perpetuate the belief that only some of us are worthy.
Universalism is a faith tradition that rejected the idea of unworthiness centuries ago. Unitarian Universalism today is a faith tradition that calls us to dismantle the supremacy in ourselves and in our culture and institutions. Supremacy is the assertion that some parts of us are better than others based on race, gender, gender identity, body size or type, sexual orientation, ability, gender expression–the many ways that we discriminate.
Bridging the differences and divides is what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. named building the beloved community. It’s the work of deepening our spirituality, the work of spiritually grounded justice, and the work of faith communities like ours. It’s our work. (You can access last Sunday’s service on “Together and Different” here.)
In our work we will not be perfect, and we must keep trying, growing and learning. That’s our work, too.
During this time of so many challenges on the national stage, I was moved by this version of America, The Beautiful. It is more inclusive, and not quite as inclusive as we aspire to be. By using the words “sisterhood” and “brotherhood” it suggests a gender binary that isn’t true. Trying, not perfect. And that’s our work, too.
Wishing you many blessings in your week.