Much of the following I have said before – maybe you’ve heard me say it or maybe not. I come back to these ideas often, and so want to share them again with you:
“Remember that every day is a new beginning. Make time to reflect upon your choice of this path, and upon your commitment … and give yourselves the chance to choose it again and again.”
I use these words most frequently in wedding ceremonies, but they are appropriate for any new beginning, including the new year before us. In terms of ethical living, it is clear that the choices we make day after day are where ethics and right relations become real, or not. As we enter a new year, in these continually tumultuous times, we are called to strengthen our commitments to the religious life, which means to living in right relations as much and as often as we can.
The call of liberal religion – the highest aim, especially of a liberal religious congregation such as ours, is not theology or dogma or charisma or tradition, but covenant—the agreement to walk together and work together, in service to the highest ideals of justice, equity, compassion, and wisdom. The call is to a commitment, and a way of life.
Living in covenant means living in active engagement with each other. In marriage, this is obvious, though not always easy. In a religious community it is an ideal, but often without shared understanding of the practices and skills it requires. All relations of mutuality and respect require both commitment and practice. I think of a few friends, for whom I am especially grateful, each of whom I have come to trust for their willingness to be generous and honest with me. We do not agree on everything—in fact two of us disagree on a great deal—but we have come to appreciate greatly how much we need and depend on the loving offering of different perspectives, to challenge and to nurture one another. We have ventured out on limbs of trust together, and because of that we have each changed and grown. The gift of this trust is priceless. It is the currency needed in the search for truth.
If you’re new to the Fellowship, or if you’ve been with us for years, I want to say to you that this is what the Fellowship can mean to you. It is a community where you can find others who are equally committed to the search for wisdom and truth. It can be a place to find trustworthy companions to respectfully nurture the best in you, if you will do the same for them.
As the new year begins, I invite you to come as often as you can. Come to help build this network of trust, which the world desperately needs.
See you Sunday — Jill