May 25 Minister Moment

“When the poor ones, who have nothing, still are giving;

when the thirsty pass the cup, water to share;

when the wounded offer others strength and healing:

we see God, here by our side, walking our way;” – Seltz translation of “Cuando el Pobre”

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and it may be the perfect weekend to get away. I know a crowd of folks are going camping, so attendance may be down at the Sunday service. Too bad, you’ll miss the Yarmouth Chamber Singers singing Cuando el Pobre. As you can see from the translation this song expresses a theology where “God” is active through inspired works of human beings, or at least the words are compatible with that theology.  “God has no hands but mine” is another way of saying it. (The Spanish saint, Teresa of Avila expressed this theology in the mid 1500’s.)

For this Sunday’s sermon, “Wake, Now, My Senses—A Broader Vision,” I will reflect on some things I learned in Arizona and Mexico.  I spent four days visiting with local organizations working for justice in the machine of immigration. In Nogales we visited the spot where 16 year old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot by Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz. Swartz was acquitted of murder charges last month, but the jury could not decide on the verdict of manslaughter. We stood at a vigil in Tucson where the Swartz trial was discussed and also the trial of Scott Daniel Warren, a volunteer accused of felony conspiracy to provide food and water and healing.

Last Sunday I mentioned the proposed “Eighth Principle” – a proposed modification of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s bylaws.  The process for amendment is a long one, and the business agenda at this year’s UU General Assembly does not have a vote on this, though much of the assembly will be dialogue on the proposal.  If there is a vote, it will be scheduled for 2019 or 2020. So there is plenty of time to study and suggest. You may want to work on this in the year ahead. Groups are advocating for individual congregations to adopt it as their own principle, and Richmond just did so:

“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

We will ritually send our delegates to General Assembly at the June 17 service, our last regular service and plenty of time for them to get to Kansas City.

After the Memorial Day break, it’s time for you to get to work. Two Earth Justice events in early June: Friday June 1 will be a surprisingly interesting 7 p.m. Environmental Forum about groundwater.  Saturday we get to clean the river- from canoes! If you have not signed up for our CVUU Clean The Bay, please do! We need canoe crews for the morning of June 2. See details below, or on Facebook or in the social hall.

With the delay of the move to July, our June services are being rearranged a bit. Don’t worry, just come and be a part of the community. As the time gets closer, you might even be asked to help move!

Other events: Nancy Gillette’s son, John Sharp, was a writer for our local Improv group, the Push Comedy Theater. I’ve been going to their shows, on Granby Street near the Greyhound Station in Norfolk, ever since we celebrated John’s Life, almost two years ago.  They have a variety of programs scheduled, including a Night of Storytelling, June 17 at 7 p.m. Cost? $5.

Blessings on your weekend, wherever you go,

Rev. Charlie


*Associated Press photograph