Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Celebrating the Interdependent Web of Life!

One of my favorite  passages from The Color Purple – by Alice Walker – is when Shug explains The Divine – also known as God – to Celi. Here’s that passage:

“Here's the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit.

It? I ast.

Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It.

But what do it look like? I ast.

Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It.

Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose. She say, My first step from the old white man (god) was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was.

Shug had discovered what we refer to in our Seventh Principle as "The Interdependent Web of all Existence." It took a while for her to discover it.  And it took Unitarians and Universalists a while as well.  Before they merged in 1961, there were some Principles that were floating around that became the basis for the Principles that were adopted.  But there were only six of them.  The Unitarians especially were folks that valued independence – not dependence.  Ralph Waldo Emerson helped to shape the myth of independence.  He was Unitarian minister but left that to be a writer.  In affirming the virtue of self-reliance he said,   “Do not seek outside yourself.”  Look within yourself for Truth.”  Now of course, he’s saying we should look within themselves for meaning rather than conform to others and that’s empowering. But he failed to acknowledge how he had relied on others all along the way to be ABLE to be an independent thinker – teachers, scholars, and others.  Plus he could rely on family for the affluence that allowed him to be a non-comformist.  Indeed, he needed others.  And that is not something to be ashamed of.   

Indeed, we don’t want folks to think of us as needy.  But we all are.  We need one another.  And we need plants and animals and a healthy earth.  

So we are here today to SHARE our experiences together.  We will pour our waters into a common bowl, as use these waters as we bless our babies together and water our plants.  
We are proud of our Seventh Principle and we celebrate "the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part" with our Water Communion.

(Homily followed by celebration of Water Communion).