Sustenance: Community of Giving

image ©Renee Ruchotzke

image ©Renee Ruchotzke

There is a chalice lighting poem often used in Religious Education classes for young children.  When I taught RE at the Pre-K level, we recited this at the opening of each session.  (There are hand gestures that go with it as well, and it is adorable!):

We light this chalice as a symbol of Unitarian Universalism. 

This is the church of the open mind,

this is the church of the loving heart,

this is the church of the helping hands,

this is the church of the caring community.

I see each of these “definitions” of our faith as gifts, and as a kind of simple statement about living the Seven Principles:

The gift of an open mind – “I am willing to listen to what you say and observe what you do, and hear it without bias or prejudice.”  (1st, 3rd, & 4th Principles)

The gift of a loving heart – “I view the world and its inhabitants through a lens of love, compassion, and respect; and prioritize peace above all.”  (2nd, 6th, & 7th Principles)

The gift of helping hands – “I act in accordance with peaceful, loving values and put forth my efforts toward peace and justice in my community and the world.”  (2nd, 5th, & 6th Principles)

The gift of caring community – “It is foremost in our hearts and minds to create a community where those around us feel known, supported, and valued, and in doing so, promote an atmosphere of trust.”  (all 7 Principles)

These are gifts that we give as individuals to each other and to the community; and gifts that we give as individuals and as a community, to the world. It’s a fascinating thing about giving of oneself – nothing is ever lost.  We receive as much, if not more, in return for our giving.

This is why UUCG (as well as the broader Unitarian Universalist community) is so beloved to me, personally.  When everyone gives, not only are we each sustained by the community, the community becomes self-sustaining.  As we give, so we receive.

What, for you, makes a beloved community?


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