Our Faith Development theme for February comes from the fifth line from Rev. L.G. Williams’ Affirmation of Faith. This affirmation, #471 in our hymnal, is recited weekly in many UU congregations. As an exploration of what we believe and aspire to as Unitarian Universalists, I will be reflecting on one line each month throughout this church year.
Oct- LOVE is the doctrine of this church;
Nov- The quest for TRUTH is its sacrament,
Dec- and SERVICE is its prayer.
Jan- To dwell together in PEACE
Feb- To seek knowledge in FREEDOM;
March- To serve humanity in FELLOWSHIP;
April- To the end that all SOULS shall grow into harmony
May- With the source and meaning of life:
June- Thus do we COVENANT with each other and with All.
Our Faith Development theme for February is FREEDOM: “to seek knowledge in FREEDOM.” What does this phrase or the idea of Freedom mean to you?
I feel this connects closely with our Fourth Principle as Unitarian Universalists, to affirm and promote “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” Some say this is the Key Stone among our principles; connecting the more personal principals with those related to the larger world; reminding us that freedom must be tied to responsibility.
In our society, and often in the UU faith tradition, the value, rights and freedoms of the individual are held in high esteem. Just as important is the responsibility we each have to and for each other, and to the responsible use of our freedoms. To not only preserve our personal ability to freely search for our own answers, but to uphold the value of others having the same right and ability.
Martin Luther King Jr. said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This means that unless we all experience justice and freedom, there is a chance that even those who have it now could lose it in the future.
One of my favorite quotes is from the Spider-Man comics. Before Uncle Ben even knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man he tells him that “with great power comes great responsibility”. We can all be heroes if we use our freedoms responsibly, and try to secure freedom for others.
“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” -Hans Christian Andersen
“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” -Hannah Arendt
“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.” -Barack Obama
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” -Bob Dylan
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would also be free.” -Rosa Parks
Yours in faith, Michelle