I feel like Christmas and Easter are some of the most challenging times to be a UU. It is in these seasons more than any other that we find ourselves asked some of the most dreaded of questions: “What do UUs believe?” “Do you celebrate Easter?” “Are you saved?” It’s challenging to answer these questions if we’ve never really thought about it before, or are unsure of the answers ourselves.
Since Christian Easter tends to focus on Salvation let’s embrace this theme in our faith development this month. Consider the wisdom of Reinhold Niebuhr found in our hymnal (#461)
“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime;
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”
I would contend that Unitarian Universalism does indeed save souls and lives, but not the way you might think. Too often in our world, tragedy and disappointment suck the life out of us; suck the heart and soul out of us. Those who find a home in our church communities often comment on how being welcomed as they are, and belonging to a fellowship that nurtures hope, faith, love, forgiveness, and I would add gratitude, has saved their weary soul, and in some cases very literally saved their life.
“Are we saved?” We must be saved. We must be resurrected and brought back to the land of the living every day, every season, every year, every second; to be offered precious, sacred moments in our often fragile lives.
What is it that saves you daily, has saved you in the past, or is saving you right now? Is it the return of spring, buds and crocuses? Is it the smiles of your children or the laughter of a loved one? Is it the daily crossword or Sudoku? A hot shower? Lunch with a friend? A special memory or object? Hope in the future?
Consider how you save others; how we all save each other.
What is it that saves you?
Yours in Faith, Michelle