From Your Co-ministers

From Your Co-ministers
Revs. Barbara W. & Jaco B. ten Hove

Questions Unfolding Still

At the May 31 Sunday service, “Love the Questions,” Barbara and Jaco endeavored to spontaneously answer a handful of anonymous Jaco-Chalice-Drawinginquiries generated by the congregation that morning in an occasional exercise called “A Question Box Sermon.” However, numerous topics were submitted that couldn’t be among the ones addressed, so the Revs have agreed to offer responses to many, if not most of those other questions over the course of the months ahead in periodic Beacon columns such as this (and perhaps a sermon or two)…

INQUIRY: We often say “Unity” and Love. For Cedars UU, why not “Community” and Love?

RESPONSE: We think that might indeed work, too, as an important comm-pound word that includes “unity,” especially if one applies a sense of “community” to all of life (not just human). Drawing on a song title by UU musician Jim Scott, we believe that “The Oneness of Everything” is a major theological statement, expressed by our 7th UU Principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.”

But many UUs are unable to recite this Principle from memory; therefore, a simple word like Unity, which sums it up nicely, can be helpful. Cedars is a beautiful embodiment of an intentional religious community, a local manifestation of the Oneness. But the word “Unity” might just point to an even larger context that holds “Everything” together in a way that “Community” doesn’t.

In much the same way that “Love” reflects the radical theological position of our 1st UU Principle (“the inherent worth and dignity of every person”), so does “Unity” suggest a profound and counter-culture orientation in favor of a very wide egalitarian interconnectedness, across all life forms.

“Community” could point this way as well, but generally it connotes a human-centered realm—very importantly, for sure, as evidenced by the value of our Cedars tribe. We just think that there’s even more UUnitty-gritty available in the shorter word.