Minister

“…anti-racism work presents an opportunity for spiritual transformation powerful enough to eliminate the devastating violence and oppression of systems of domination based on race, ethnicity, and culture. Anti-racist partnerships offer a home base for this work—a spiritual and political foundation that provides opportunities for collaboration and accountability. Thus, creating partnerships can be a formative spiritual task. In addition to exerting greater influence on political issues and creating more equitable conditions in our communities, partnerships help to create new relationships. They require all parties to share and redistribute power within the alliance while simultaneously working for change on a broader scale.” (“Creating Partnerships for Anti-racist Action” by Susan Leslie, from Soul Work, p. 208)

Thank you to Alice Sutton, Barbara Dorsey, and the whole Social Justice Council; Rick Hahnenberg, Linda Leible, and the 2019-20 Board of Trustees; Anne Waters and the team at Hub City Writers Project; and most of all you, the congregation and community who created, activated, and have sustained this transformative partnership: https://www.hubcity.org/blog/there-is-power-in-mercy-natalia-valenzuela-swanson-scott-neely-in-conversation?fbclid=IwAR1Thgz9jIeAUjpakC8hHG2ktHLTbj2HV8eI9xCAWL5B_MSGBf7CpuDV6PQ

We are doing the work.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone—

Scott

Next week at UUCS, work will begin on the mural honoring the Grimké Sisters, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and hosted by our congregation. This beautiful public artwork speaks to the power of persistent, dedicated, intersectional justice—of what can happen when we work with and for one another.

On Wednesday, July 1 at 6:00 pm during our weekly congregational Zoom gathering, the artist who designed the mural, Nancy Corbin, will offer a presentation for all who would like to attend. She will speak about the mural design, the artists who influenced her ideas, and the process of painting the mural itself. Please join us, and invite anyone you know who would like to be a part as well (please refer to June 25 Happenings for links).

May we strive to live by the example these women have shown us—

Scott

The Solstice is this Saturday night, June 20—join us live at 6:30 here to celebrate the Sun at its zenith over our hemisphere: https://www.youtube.com/user/uucs

And then—into the summer. We have an amazing line-up of speakers throughout this season, beginning with reflections by UUCS women on UU women heroes; and then a month-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the suffrage movement and the passage of the 19th Amendment. It may be summer, but we are not stopping. We will burn with the work of freedom and justice for all.

May we illuminate the world—

Scott

This Sunday, although we are apart, we will celebrate together our annual Ingathering of Flowers. This beautiful ritual is a living symbol of our interconnectedness and care for one another.

And flowers have long been a sign of resistance and hope.

As you join in our service this Sunday via live stream, please place a flower or greenery beside the screen during our Flower Communion in the service. Take a picture and post it to social media; text it to friends. And display it in your screen when you join in our Annual Meeting via Zoom on Sunday at 1:00pm.

Though apart, we are together, and we are hope—

Scott

To serve, or to dominate.

We all have power. Every one of us. Without exception.

The question of every human life is: how will we use it?

We see the choice in the world around us. We are right to challenge domination and to praise service. But the choice is inside us too. Every one of us.

Every day, we must choose: how will we use our power?

Every day, choose to serve—

Scott

I received an anonymous letter. When I opened it, I laughed out loud.

A sermon had been purchased at our annual auction in November, and the benefactor, who wished to remain anonymous, had written to request that I offer a sermon on “Superheroes”. They wrote: “I would be delighted to hear you speak on this topic. I have no further instruction or expectations, other than: please enjoy.”

I take that as an invitation for us all to have some fun. And the timing could not be more perfect. We need some joy, and we are surrounded by superheroes.

Rather than one sermon, we will dedicate this whole month to the theme of Superheroes. We will celebrate the successes of our congregation as a team, all year long. We will honor the beings of light and power who help us every day, essential workers on farmers, in streets, and in hospitals. We will gaze into the sun in celebration of the Solstice. And we will revel in the legends of our favorite superheroes.

Of course, you can see where this is headed: we can all be superheroes. But how do we become one?

And so, in honor of summer vacation after a long school year, I’d like to give you some homework:

  • Pull out your old comic books from the attic, your beloved tomes of ancient sagas, your favorite movies—from childhood or from today, alone or with someone you love, enjoy again the stories of your favorite superheroes. I am asking you to indulge.
  • Think of those people in your life who are, truly in your estimation, superheroes—and thank them. Call, write, project a signal in the night sky—just tell them thank you.
  • And check this out: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works. The enneagram is one of many personality inventories, but it has the advantage of helping us understand the forces that shaped us, the personalities we have developed in response, the powers that those personalities we have created hold—and how we can connect with the gifts of others to work better and better as a team. There are many resources out there, but this is one of the best, reliable and clear, with good steps on how to actualize the very best in ourselves.

The answer is obvious: you are a superhero. Yes, you are. But how to become who we really are?

“I’ve learned everyone has power. It’s not indestructibility or flying or superspeed—it’s that fire in your soul that pushes you to touch the sky. Stepping up for those that need hope…leads you to the greatest heights, and there, we all soar higher, further, faster.” (Captain Marvel, quoted at the Celebration of Life service for real-life superhero and UUCS member Barbara Mattson: https://soundcloud.com/user-978330397/courage-words-for-barbara-mattson)

This will be fun—

Scott

There is something deeper than the deepest wound,
a power and wisdom for healing
innate in being itself,

a goodness
deeper than all our failures and flaws and injustices.

The work of the healer
is to summon it.

We can do this—

Scott

“Healers…one doesn’t come across many of them, and anyhow it must be a hard vocation.” (Albert Camus, The Plague)

We move toward the wound.

We listen, to understand.

We care.

We stick with it, even when it gets very hard.

We find a way.

 

We are healers—

Scott

Thank you for being who you are,

a people who think and question,
a people steadfast and devoted,
a people of endless vision and generosity,
a people of care,

a people of faith & hope.

You give me hope and energy.

Thank you–

Scott

 

Tired? Lonely? Bored? Angry? Afraid?

Read this e-mail and turn your despair into power for the good of us all. This is everybody’s business. For even more ways to help, visit https://uucs.org/welcome/help/.

“We should go forward, groping our way through the darkness, stumbling perhaps at times, and try to do what good lay in our power.” (Albert Camus, The Plague)

We have work to do—

Scott