Open the Window: Dangerous Things 7

With the last of our seven Principles we make this powerful observation: that when Unitarian Universalists covenant ourselves to our seven Principles, we are covenanting ourselves to dangerous things.  Standing together for our Principles has meant throughout our history individuals giving their lives for what they mean.

We covenant.  What does that mean?  To covenant means to come together, to gather ourselves around something, to form community and relationships around and because of something (from Latin, convenire = to come together).

We come together and create community around respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

This principle my be my most often “go to” principle.  It speaks to me of communion and vision larger than myself.  The fact is that each of these principles do that in some way, and in another sense, the very first principle–the inherent dignity and worth of all people–is fleshed out in the remaining six.  Respecting the interdependent web of all existence is another way of saying that we see an inherent worth and dignity not only in all people, but in all beings and things.

What is so dangerous about this expansive idea of communion with all beings and things?  Metaphorically, it means no more locked doors, nor more private clubs, no more “us and them,” no more walls.  Perhaps more than I realize, I prop myself up and give myself comfort with almost unspoken judgments that amount to my separateness from others. This principle acknowledges that such a separateness really does not exist–anywhere–except in our minds. It is the same truth that we are only waking up to.  There is no such thing as race.  Race is a social construct. It really only exists in our minds and imaginations.

This last principle threatens to remove any appeal to how anyone or thing is ultimately of no concern to me.  While that might feel heavy and burdensome (having to care about everything all the time), it might just also be some wonderful to open to.  Open the windows and let our belonging to all things and all people come in.  This morning we wake to more of the horrible aftermath of a bombing in Manchester, England.  It’s so easy to console ourselves with the horror of terrorism and terrorists “of which we are not a part.”But, if we open the windows, this is the truth:  this horror is our family story, and we have much work to do.

Bob Patrick

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