UU Lenten Observation

lent

Once again, I am offering weekly online readings, reflections, and engagement for Unitarian Universalists during the season of Lent. You will find the first two e-mail below. If you wish to register to receive these, leave your email address in the comments and I will add you to the distribution list.

Ash Wednesday Reflection

Reflection for March 8

 

Silence & Shouting

I’ve recently been trying to discern when to be silent and when to shout. These days, the whole world seems to be shouting and silent at once. People are beginning to wake up and protests, meetings with elected leaders, and local rallies are happening in record numbers. It is also true that some are still silent and complacent about the woes of others.

When I talk with our youth about privilege, I always talk about how we can harness the privilege we carry to amplify historically marginalized voices. I try to use my voice to make space for another, not to speak for them. This is an important lesson we all must learn and often relearn along the way.

The verse above from Isaiah makes me think about the revolution unfolding around us. What is our part? What is our work? When do we shout and when do we hold silence?

For my Lenten observation, I am trying to listen more. This means more time on my meditation cushion, more time in intentional silence, more time in nature, and more reading of those voices which history has tried (and all too often succeeded) in silencing.

Shout for joy!
Cry out for peace!
Yell announcements of the resistance!
Sit in quiet moments to listen to your heart.
Keep silent your opinions and learn from those most affected by oppression.
Listen sweetly to every sound for evidence of the Holy in the day-to-day.

Doubt

Doubt-1Questioning is a value of our Unitarian Universalist faith.  Channing said the questions were more important than the answers.  For many of us who grew up in a different faith tradition, the room to question, to doubt, and the freedom to express those doubts is what brought us to Unitarian Universalism.

Doubt can motivate us to be lifelong learners, ever seeking more pieces of the truth.  We value rational thinking, reason, and scientific inquiry.  Yet, we also value the personal experience of transcendence, which some call God.  We are doubters and believers together.

Consider that we are doubters and believers individually as well.

Even in our deepest convictions, we have some doubt, some question that keeps us looking more deeply at the things we hold to be true. Doubt motivates us to clarity.  It is my doubting that has led me to a deeper spiritual connection with… Well, the name doesn’t really matter.  My questions aren’t necessarily resolved.  Doubt hasn’t led me to a firm belief to shout from the mountaintop.  It has brought me, question by question, to a connection, centeredness, an impassioned drive for justice, willingness to not only entertain doubt, but also faith.

Have you ever chimed a singing bowl and felt the sound move through your body?  It’s an incredible experience one I find very centering and nurturing to my spirit.  I can’t see the sound; I can only feel it and describe it. This is true of how some people experience the Mystery or connection of something beyond them.  There is a way of course to measure sound waves and perhaps there may someday be a way to measure the supposed spiritual experiences people claim to have while praying, worshipping, dancing, meditating, birthing, dying……or perhaps not. I don’t know.

*This content was developed for our small group ministry program, Journey Groups.  Below are some reflection questions for consideration.

Discussion & Sharing Questions:

  • How does doubt led you to a deeper understanding of your faith?
  • Are there times when doubt is not a virtue, but a stumbling block?
  • Are faith and doubt opposites, or do they exist together?
  • How does doubt contribute to your identity and faith as a Unitarian Universalist?
  • Do you agree with Channing, that the questions are more important than the answers? Why or why not?