Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Center Hole

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
(Tao Te Ching, 11)

The other day, I passed by a familiar face that frequently greets me on my morning walk to class. Despite a passing collegial greeting – a nod, or grin, or ‘Good Morning’ – I rarely spend more than a fleeting second taking notice of this man. And yet, there he stands, day after day, snow or shine, perched on the corner of a bustling Cambridge street, selling the Spare Change newspaper to benefit the local homeless community. He may or may not be homeless himself. Well, this day I stopped to take notice. “What drives you to such compassion and commitment?” I asked. “Where do you draw strength to smile when ignored and overlooked?” I surveyed his light-brown skin, stubble-shaved head, piercing dark eyes and ink-stained yellow gloves. As he spoke, the dangling whiskers above his upper lip danced with excitement: “God helps me out. Because He [sic?] loves all His children, and so I see everybody as my brothers and sisters. And I have lots of friends, you know, who have done bad things, and so I want to show them that you can do good things for people, not for money or for things or stuff, but because you’re a good person in the heart.”

Here was a man, affirming the worth and dignity of every person he met, moved by the center hole of life’s great mystery. Should we ever find such sustaining depth of loving purpose.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Prayer for Egress

Holy, holy God,

Open our minds, that we may grow in wisdom.
Open our eyes, that we may grow in presence.
Open our mouths, the we may grow in truth.
Open our hearts, that we may grow in love.
Open our hands, that we may grow in justice.

Unshackle in our fragility the imaginative power of a life resurrected;
Help us grow out of suffering into a compassionate community of interdependence.


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Ritual and the Way Forward

I suspect that a heretofore-overlooked source of Unitarian Universalist religious meaning and sustenance lies in the act of doing ritual. On this view, religion functions like a musical score that requires execution for artistic liberation. Linda J. Hoddy reminds us: “Here, in this space made sacred by our shared lives and our shared yearnings, may we find new courage, new generosity of spirit, forgiveness given and received, and rededication to the higher purposes of our lives.” May liturgical play unearth new paths towards spiritual and ethical fulfillment in community, thereby unleashing through ritual the possibility of reimagining worldly redemption.

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