March Minister’s Column

Dear Ones:

This month marks a milestone for me, Duffy Schade and Sharon Gresk. After more years than I care to count, we are finally ready to publish a book we’ve been working on entitled Hear the Earth Call. It was Duffy’s idea originally. She offered to sift through my sermons and prayers in search of meaningful excerpts addressing our experience of Nature. Once she had collected a series of excerpts, she began matching her own photographs to them. Along the way we brought Sharon Gresk onto the team to design the book. Our Sunday service on April 23rd will feature readings from Hear the Earth Call and a viewing of some of the photographs in the book. (We will also begin taking orders. All proceeds go to UUS:E!)

Mindful that our ministry theme for April is reconciliation, I would like to share with you part of the Epilogue from Hear the Earth Call. It speaks to the way Nature reminds us of inherent oneness in the universe:

“Let us imagine there was a beginning to everything—a primordium—a paradise of sorts—a tiny, compressed moment wherein all boundaries blur, so that shapes and spaces cannot be distinguished, matter and energy cannot be distinguished, light and shadow cannot be distinguished, past, present and future cannot be distinguished—a complete unity, all in one; one in all; a tiny potent moment in which a vast multitude of possibilities resides. This moment, this original unity, pregnant, about to burst forth with immeasurable creative power, if it did exist—and scientists say it did—by definition, must contain all truth…. More precisely, this moment—this astounding, glorious, eloquent unity is truth.

“Let us imagine everything we do in our lives, every decision, every emotion,  every thought—everything; even the misguided, harmful things—if we look deeply enough at why we do what we do and feel what we feel, if we look for the motivation

underlying our motivations, if we look in the most intimate way, illuminating our most inner, most vulnerable selves, we realize at our core is a longing—a profound and fierce longing—to return to that primordial moment, that sublime, original unity.

“Let us imagine, that from time to time, each of us in our own way has experiences—experiences of transcending mystery and wonder—brief, fleeting experiences: flashes, visions, dreams, deja vus, feelings, flickers, intuitions, insights, connections, A-has!, eurekas!—marked physically by butterflies and goose bumps—moments of awe, exultation, joy, amazement, and sometimes fear, dread, terror. And let us imagine these moments occur in both likely and unlikely places: in the sun rising over the ocean; the sound and call of the pounding surf; the view from the mountain top; the great circle of Midwest sky; humming birds and squirrels taking a meal at the backyard feeder; the exuberance of new love … spring’s rebirth; summer’s tomatoes served freshly cut with salt, pepper and oil; autumn’s vivid, colorful decay; winter’s barrenness; the cry of the newborn … the final breath before death…. Let us imagine, in these moments—these precious, grace-filled moments, we recognize, if only for an instant, that original unity of all things. We come screaming out of the birth canal into the soft light, into the wet morning, into life’s mud and muck and mess, and we know—a profound heart-and-soul-knowing—truth. The words before words sing in our hearts, and we know truth.”

Amen and blessed be.

Rev. Josh