What Does It Mean to be a People of Invitation

Soul Matters is a themed journal program developed by the Reverend Scott Tayler at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester, NY. It presents the theme in the form of a question: “What Does It Mean to be a People of…”. There are no daily readings, but rather a set of fewer but longer readings that could easily be adapted for small groups, as well as books, movies and other media related to the theme. They also have a monthly article or reading to support the current need for conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice. September’s Soul Matters’ theme is “What Does It Mean to be a People of Invitation?”, which is, of course, a perfect question with which to start a new church year.

Reading

An Invitation to Redefine Success: The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer is one of the most referenced spiritual writings among all liberal religious groups - for good reason. It invites us to completely rethink what this game of life is all about. Forget “what you do for a living” or “how much money you have,” it says. Instead tell us about your ability to “risk looking like a fool for love,” “disappoint another to be true to yourself” or be “weary and bruised to the bone, but still do what needs to be done for the children.” It represents an entirely different spiritual metric. It invites a radically counter-cultural vision of “the good life.” This exercise asks you to engage its invitation.

Here’s your assignment:

  1. Spend a week with the poem: http://www.stevenkharper.com/invitation.html. Read it at least once a day for a few days.
  2. Pick the one line that you hope will most characterize your life. Don’t worry about whether or not you are currently living up to it. This is about aspiration.

If something arises for you from this exercise and you are willing to share a reflection at our Evening Service on Semptember 20th at 5:30 pm, please let me know by next Thursday, September 17th.

Intercultural Conversations

Rev. Ellen and Justine invite you to join them in a monthly "Intercultural Conversations”. The first will be after the morning service on September 20th. We will be using the “Soul Matters” suggested article “I, Racist” and the conversation prompts provided. The sermon, “I, Racist” has been one of the most read and forwarded pieces of the Black Lives Matter conversation. For many, it is a challenging piece to invite into one’s heart and consciousness. But if being “a people of invitation” means anything, it means at least being willing to make space for and invite in hard truths and new perspectives. So this exercise invites you to invite it in. Read the sermon: I, Racist. Sit with it. Open your heart to it. Let it validate you. Let it make you defensive. Let it make you cry. Let it make you angry. Everyone is sure to have different reactions. This is not about responding “correctly.” It is about finding a way to respond as a “person of invitation.” Figure out what that means for you. Come to the group and share what you figured out.

If you have any questions or have trouble downloading or accessing the readings, please let Rev. Ellen know and she will get them to you. And if you are interested in seeing the whole “Soul Matters” journal for the month of September, please let her know and she can email it to you.

Just to give you a taste of what is to come:

What does it mean to be a people of…

  • "Letting Go" (October)
  • “Ancestry” (November)
  • “Expectation” (December)

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133