July 31–All Is Welcome Here: Still Work To Do

The message of this song has come home to me in so many ways just in the last 24 hours. Yesterday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett–so many new faces and first time visitors.

All is welcome here.

And they came with babies and toddlers who made such wonderful human life sounds in and through our community.

All is welcome here.

I attended a Racial Equity committee meeting after the services and took away strong encouragement from those there with plans for more work on the white supremacy system in our communities.

All is welcome here.

Within the last two weeks, three teenagers in my high school community have died, in car accidents, from cardiac arrest.

Is all welcome here?

The President of the United States continues to say and do things in public that cause worry, fear and suffering in our country and in many respects in the world.

Is all welcome here?

I suspect that if we were to work with this song as a theme for spiritual growth for a very long time, we would find it to intermittently challenge and encourage us. Ultimately, I hear the message. It is a call to surrender. To surrender our guard. To surrender our fears. To surrender our anger and retaliations. To surrender our ignorance. To surrender our protestations against things that we do not want and allow that all is welcome there, as Rumi says:

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

I confess that most of the time, I am not there. I have not grown enough nor am I broken enough before the mystery of life to allow that all is welcome here when the “all” includes things that I don’t understand or that I fear. In that very place, I have common ground and common experience with those in this country who find my embrace of certain progressive ideas as something that they don’t understand, something they are afraid of.

I have heard many people express how fragile they feel–how very near breaking they feel–before various events in our world from the social and political to the very personal. I feel that way myself at times. I think the last 31 days of reflection on this song and its message is that if I feel like I’m going to break, I can allow that to happen before the Mystery of Life and trust that the next wave of Life’s Mystery will emerge to carry me on.

I think that’s what I’m learning when I contemplate that All is welcome here.

Bob Patrick

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