As I said in my sermon on Sunday, this year, in our congregation, we have been walking each other through some very painful times: death, illness and other endings, losses and traumas. As I help people walk through some terrible truths and terrible pain, I have wished for a magic wand—that answer which will make everything make sense, or that promise of a miracle to make everything better. As UU theologian Paul Rasor wrote, Unitarian Universalism is a faith without certainty—at least the certainty of heaven, cosmic fairness or a god who knows all and will make it come out okay in the wash. I sometimes wonder if it would be better if I could offer that kind of certainty. But I realize that the reason we are Unitarian Universalists is because we don’t believe this. We bring our own experiences, questions, doubts, and ideas to the table and share them in covenant with one another--promising to honor and celebrate, to nurture, to care and be present, to bear witness, and to be good stewards of each other and the lives we have been given to share.
So, as hard as this year as been for so many of us, I have been touched and inspired by how you all live out our Unitarian Universalist faith. I appreciate the many ways you have taken care of one another and the strangers who have entered our doors, looking for care and comfort. I appreciate the honesty and courage with which you have faced loss and heartbreak, held each other in thoughts and prayer, in meals made and delivered, in prayer shawls blessed and shared, in simply being present and bearing witness. I appreciate how so many of you have stepped up when one or another of you has had to step away to grieve or take care of a loved one, or deal with a personal problem or loss. You have embodied so well our Unitarian Universalist faith, grounded in the practices of gratitude and hospitality, with such grace and love that you constantly strengthen and reaffirm mine, so I can, in turn, be present to those who need it.