the OUUC spark
April 13, 2023
~ Faith in Action Perspective: What Can We Trust? ~ Rev. Sara Lewis
One of the great Both/And Tensions of our lives is Being and Doing, which can show up in our faith communities as a perceived tension between spirituality and justice work. In the false Either/Or view of this, you either engage with deep spirituality and peace or you work with passion and commitment to change the world. This is a false binary however, which assumes that these two states are opposed to one another rather than complimentary.
In fact, in my own life and in my work with others I see that the Both/And of spiritual practice and committed action are vital. Without a sense of connection to something profound and larger than ourselves, a person is much more vulnerable to burn out and their actions may take on a brittle and less-than-loving quality that can become harmful to self and others. And without committed action in this world, spiritual practice remains entirely too theoretical and a person may be in danger of succumbing to comfortable delusions that separate them from reality.
The balance of the two helps us stay grounded, which I conceive of as a kind of trust. There is something we can sink our roots/anchors/pick your metaphor into …. Something that we can feel trust in. That something will be different for each of us, perhaps, but it really helps to have trust in something, and trust in yourself. I find my trust in a sense of a larger spirit of life/web of existence of which I am only one part, and which I envision as loving me and holding me. And knowing that I am only one part, I find I can trust that my actions do matter because they ripple out into a collective field of actions. This is my personal theological framework that sustains both my spiritual practice and my faith in action. Yours may be completely different, and that is just fine. But I encourage you to ask yourself the question, and think about your answer: what can you trust? What is larger than yourself that you trust and can be held by? And then how can you trust yourself? Why do your actions matter?
If you’d like a book assignment to explore on this topic, I recommend one I’ve just finished reading: Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s one of his last books, finished by his students and with commentary by one young student, Sister True Dedication, and it has a “how do we apply this to action in the world today” question at the core of the book. In many ways it is a portrait of people living lives of deep spiritual engagement while wrestling with how to also engage with the world and with justice.
I have recorded a short passage from the book on this video as well, if you would like to use this passage as a guided meditation this week.
May we all find Trust, be well, and do good. Blessed Be to you all,
Our volunteer of the month is Jen Sabel! You will likely see Jen on Sunday mornings, organizing and leading the Ushers and Greeters team, and Jen has volunteered in many other ways at OUUC as well. Jen shares that her first volunteer gig at OUUC was to organize the All Church retreat we used to have at Camp Seymour, when she stepped forward to answer the call when the previous organizer announced they would be stepping back. Since then, Jen has volunteered in religious education classes, on the Leadership Development Committee, and more. Although she finds it challenging to find enough time to volunteer as much as she would like to since she is still working a fairly demanding job, Jen enjoys volunteering as a way to meet people and have deeper relationships with them. She also finds that volunteering gives her a sense of purpose, makes her feel she’s contributing to the organization, and she also notes it is part of our covenantal agreement to enhance the health of the congregation with our time, talent, and energy.
If you would like to join Jen in volunteering, the Ushers team always needs more friendly and helpful folks. Contact Jen to join the team!
Thank you, Jen, for all you do!
OUUC Under Construction!
Work on OUUC’s HVAC system has begun.
Sunday services will be held in the classrooms on April 16 and 23, and maybe on April 30. The classrooms have limited seating, so if your spiritual needs can be met by participating on Zoom or YouTube we invite you to do so.
The Thursday dinners will be held as usual. The Commons ceiling near the doorway may look like a construction zone, but we expect the rest of the room to be fit for use.
There will be no Thursday evening spiritual practice after April 6. We will offer after-dinner activities in the Commons for those onsite on Thursday evenings.
Pre-auction Opportunity! Cameroonian Dinner
THIS WEEK AT OUUC
Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Tuesday - Thursday, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm