The Beloved Community Within

The Chance to Love Everything – February 2012     —-

“The Beloved Community Within”      —-

In the February 5th Worship Service, I offered a series of questions about what it means to be loving. “When one of us is in need – hungry in body or spirit – how does love call us to respond? When one of us is rude or shaming toward another, what does love ask? And what would it mean for us to be known for our love?”

These types of questions ask us to consider our own behavior, how we will treat each other – in personal relationships, in community, in the wider world.  Though it’s easy enough to say “Love is the Spirit of this Church,” figuring out what it means to be loving isn’t necessarily obvious.

Recently, a UU colleague, the Rev. David Miller, shared a series of questions he and his congregation had come up with for helping their community consider if their actions are loving – if they are in what we call “right relationship.”  I share these with you here for you to consider, and invite you to use them in your personal lives, and in your interactions within this congregation, and in the wider world, as we continue to let love guide us.

  1. Am I assuming the good intentions of the other?
  2. Am I communicating directly with the person with whom I am having an issue?
  3. Am I resolving issues or am I spreading them through gossip, anger and/or
  4. frustration?
  5. Am I reflecting on what personal wounds, issues, and tendencies of mine are contributing to the issue?
  6. Am I willing to be an active participant and to work in good faith to clear up issues?
  7. Am I projecting onto someone else through my own framework what they are thinking or doing vs. engaging them and asking them to share their thoughts and story?
  8. Am I actually trying to live the principles and values of Unitarian Universalism by acting with compassion, respect, and a high value of our interdependence?
  9. Am I actively listening to what others are saying and not formulating a response or the next comment or question while they are talking?
  10. Can I let go of my need to control the situation?
  11. Can I graciously leave space for others by letting someone else speak first or by not speaking my mind if the point has been raised or made already?
  12. Can I help lift up the life of another or the group in my words and actions?
  13. Can I have disagreements with an individual or group, do so in love and
    respect, and continue to stay in community?
  14. Can I take into account the importance of the task in relation to the importance of the relationship?
  15. Can I reflect on how my attitude and actions contribute to the tone of our community?
  16. Am I willing not to have to be right?
  17. Am I being the change I wish to see in the world and that means really acting the way I would like others to act?
  18. Am I willing to be changed?
  19. And finally, can I remember to ask the question, “What is the most loving thing I can do or say right now?”

To act in the world with love, we must cultivate love in our own lives.  To hold the world accountable to loving, right relationships, we must hold ourselves accountable to the same. In the coming weeks, I am going to take each morning and read two or three of these, and just spend 5 minutes bringing them into my consciousness.  I invite you to try this practice with me.  Together, we can change the world.

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday as we delve more deeply into the spiritual roots of justice work and consider how TRUU can grow in our engagement with social change work in our community.

With love and in faith,