Sunday, January 29, 2017

We need Faith now, more than ever

I'm rushing to write this so I can get to church on time. 'Cause I NEED my congregation right now, more than I ever have. And so do you, I bet.

The Sunday after the 2016 election, our service was standing room only. We ran out of orders of service (programs), and we ran out of pew space. Nobody seemed to mind. Nobody minded when the service went long either. Many people cried openly. Everyone seemed to want to stay all day. I joked to our minister, can we have church tomorrow too?

We need faith right now, more than ever.  We need liberal, free thinking, life affirming faiths. We need synagogues that have potlucks with mosques and Christian congregations that host refugees and temples that affirm gay rights and sacred spaces that welcome all.  We need, in this turbulent, scary and constantly shifting world, safe spaces to sit and cry openly. The ground is moving under our feet. We need someplace firm to stand.

My congregation is a liberal leaning, gay affirming, diversity seeking, science loving Unitarian-Universalist church. I was very lucky to have been raised a UU, but many if not most of our congregants come to us after being rejected or shut out from their faith of origin.  How their former temples or churches didn't want these beautiful people I cannot understand. Unfortunately, the story of conservative faith in our country is written with exclusion; a long list of can'ts and don'ts.  Unfortunately many leaders in our government belong to a Christian faith that seems to have gone astray from the teachings of Jesus as I understand them. They are leaving far too many lovely people behind.

Do you need a place to sit and cry openly? Do you need opportunities to have your lifestyle, your love, your dreams and your identity affirmed and loved without question? Do you need to find people to march with and pray with and sing with and write postcards to your representatives with?

Find your church. Find a sacred place to call home. They want you, and you need them.

Here are some tips on finding a spiritual home in this time of crisis: Go on Facebook and look for congregations in your area that have photos from the Women's March. Walk past the synagogue, see if they have a rainbow flag somewhere. Look at the upcoming sermon titles: do they invite you to join with your brothers and sisters in faith?

If you can't find a local place to worship, look online! Our congregation, and many others, livestream their services on Facebook or on other platforms. Get a couple of friends together, light a candle, and join in!

If your sacred space is a under a tree in the forest, awesome. Trying bringing a couple of friends with you and reading aloud from something that moves you. Sing a song together. See how you feel afterwards.  If you feel like your feet are more firmly planted and your breath is deeper, then invite a few more friends next time.

We need Faith now, more than ever. 

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