Safety, Wholeness, Yearning (sermon)

November 19, 2017

The Unitarian Society, East Brunswick, NJ


A refrain that has been in my mind, over and over.

Safety.  And wholeness.  And a deep yearning for it.

I have finally noticed it this past week, but really it has been insisting itself into most of my sermons these past few months, perhaps the whole year or more.

 Safety.  And wholeness.  And a deep yearning for it.

I felt it as I planned for today’s service and helped give input into last night’s fellowship fest: a yearning for the children and youth of this congregation to be folded safely within our embrace.  A yearning for their utter and absolute safety, a yearning I know that each and every one of you share and one we try – oh, do we try – to craft and conjure and cajole with our insistent breath, despite what the world has been handing us.

Safety.  And wholeness.  And a deep yearning for it.

It was at the heart of the powerful #metoo prayer ritual of a few weeks ago, which I hope sustains you as the stories continue to surface, the possibility of both hurt and healing, for empowerment and disillusionment.  Remember: We will add our brave together, add it all up, so that our brave-together light will outshine the shadow.

Safety.  And wholeness.  And a deep yearning for it.

It is where, in lighting this rainbow chalice, we honor Transgender Awareness week here in New Jersey, knowing that tomorrow is Transgender Day of Remembrance. TDOR a day to mourn those who have met violent ends and renamed by some within the trans community as Transgender Day of Resilience, as a way to remember not just victim status, but strength and beautiful survival.

This is why we are doing the small, and yet so big, thing at our Congregational Meeting to make wide the welcome and be explicit in our inclusivity by the choice of signage we use for our bathrooms.  We want folks who are trans, folks who are gender non-conforming, to know this place as a safe, as a people who sees them as whole.

Safety.  And wholeness.  And a deep yearning for it.

It has to do with the heartrending cause behind in this week’s message about being more careful when we answer the door here during the week, how each of us no matter where we live or work, wonders and fears in new ways, living with the reminder that security is never guaranteed, and still we go on living and loving.

This is why we support refugee settlement, knowing that everyone has the human right to be free of war, violence, torture and the traumatic legacy of these horrible things.  This is why we should continually find ways to support those congregations who offer sanctuary and who already are doing so, shielding fellow humans from persecution by this nation’s government, trying to protect families and keeping them whole.  This is why we gather food throughout the year, and today for the upcoming holiday, for families who experience not enough.

Safety.  And wholeness.  And a deep yearning for it.

I feel so deeply blessed to be your minister, to be with you as you seek safety and wholeness for yourself, as you seek safety and wholeness for your family, as you seek safety and wholeness in this wide aching world.

And I feel so deeply blessed to be your minister as I seek these things: in my own life, for my family, for and with you, and in this wide aching beautiful chaotic resplendent voluptuous tumultuous world.

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