“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” One of the most well-known literary lines in English literature – and written by a Unitarian, Charles Dickens, to boot! – is apropos to our own age, here now almost halfway through the year 2017. Most of you who are reading these words are incredibly blessed. Yes, I will say it – even privileged. Most of you have a roof over your head. Running water. Food to eat. Countless scientific and medical advances to make your lives more comfortable. The loving, supportive, inclusive community we call Heritage. The gift of life itself.
Yet we know, and have reminded ourselves on recent Sunday mornings and in meetings and discussion groups, that for others, both in our own society and around the world, these may be the worst of times. When you even have to say the words “black lives matter,” it means that to some people . . . they don’t. When you even have to talk about civil rights, or LGBT rights, or immigrant rights – when you have to point out that women’s rights are human rights – it means that, for some, those inherent rights are still being denied. Not everyone – even in our own community – has a roof over their head, or running water, or enough food to eat, or access to the advances that make life more comfortable for most of us.
This month at Heritage Church, we will be exploring these “best of times and worst of times.” We begin the month the same way we concluded last month, with celebration – happy 190th birthday, Heritage! – and our annual congregational meeting. That morning, I will be encouraging us to focus on, and appreciate, the joy that is in each of our lives. And I truly do believe, there is joy in each of our lives.
Later in the month, we will examine some ways in which these are not good times. There is painful discord and division in our society – and it is reflected in painful is discord and division in our Unitarian Universalist Association. We will look honestly at both. Throughout it all, I will share with you what I believe, and invite you to consider – and share – what you believe. We will listen to each other. We will learn from each other. But most of all, we will love each other.
That’s why we’re here. That’s why, 190 years ago, our spiritual ancestors created this congregation. May we be worthy keepers of that legacy.
Wishing you a happy, peaceful summer. Don’t forget to collect some water!