The Knights Who Say “We”!
Our recent and delightful auction theme was Knights of the Round Table, so I’ve been thinking in Such Realms of late. And at our also recent regional ministers’ meetings (probing the intriguing question, “Whose Are We?”), the subject of covenant led one presenter to comment that when individuals in a group agree on some common understanding, “I”s become “WE”s.
So, I thought to myself, UUs could be considered The Knights Who Say “We”! (an unabashed, if oblique reference to the influential comedy film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”). Over my 20-plus years in parish ministry, I have certainly noticed how some members take a bit longer to refer to the collective as “we.” For whatever (probably good) reason, they linger in the “you” and “they” mode when commenting on aspects of congregational life, despite their involvement therein.
At some point, though, the I hopefully becomes a WE, as a deeper connection emerges, relationships grow and a seat opens at the round table of community, facing in. Saying “we” when speaking of one’s congregation indicates a commitment of the heart, a “leaning in” toward the center of that group, an eager identification that adds to one’s individuality and grounds the self in relationship with others of all ages.
There is almost no other place in our culture where one can garner the value found in knowing and being known by people of all ages—regularly, significantly, joyfully experiencing the gamut of the human age span interacting together under a congregational banner. Such a round table has a diversity of seats.
When our Pacific Northwest ministers gathered to explore “Whose Are We?”—the sense of covenant that binds us around the inclusive table of UUism—we were invited to muse on a few productive angles and I offer here a brief recounting of my reflections, thus inspired. I suspect any Knights Who Say “We” (ordained and otherwise) can gain insight from also considering these approach paths, which ask about “the quality of one’s relationship and covenant with Source, Call and Community.”
SOURCE is as good a word as any for that ineffable mystery greater than the sum of the parts. I find the quality of my relationship and covenant with Source is at once earthy and cosmic. This planet is literally the source of my being, plus where I will return eventually. And the Earth itself is embedded in a Universe of immeasurable and unknowable dimension, a largess with which I try to find ultimate balance and humble comfort.
A CALL is what anyone knows as an inner drive toward resounding authenticity, offering opportunities to live out of one’s own passion and gifts. For me, I have tried to listen deeply for this call throughout my life, at some moments suspecting that there was something ahead that was awaiting my energies. I feel fulfilled when I can honor such purposeful momentum, which tends to reflect an ethic of service toward the good of the whole.
The quality of my relationship and covenant with COMMUNITY is very much what has followed from a longtime call in the direction mentioned immediately above. I find a deep grounding in the often messy but dynamic process of a group mind, amid multiple perspectives. Patience and accountability are essential companions on this path.
Our engagement at the round table of life is seen in the quality of our relationship and covenant with Source, Call and Community. As Knights Who Say “We,” let us continue journeying together toward a future of shared hope, called to add our creative presence and multiple perspectives into the human mix that animates this Earthy domain and moves us to serve the Good.