Reopening? Oh, I'm definitely for it!
I want us to open our hearts again and again! I want us experiencing wonder and community that leaves us incapable of closing, and then I want us to spread this outward through ever greater service.
Yes, may we reopen and again reopen!
Oh, you mean resume in-person meetings? Hmm... about that I'm not quite so sure.
You see, I've spent so long as an environmentalist touting the "precautionary principle", that it's hard to go back to throwing caution to the wind. I've gotten into a good deal of momentum in practicing: "If there's a possibility it will harm someone, let's not do it right now. Let's do something else." And the thing is that there's great possibility for harm from COVID-19, and I think it deserves some healthy respect.
It's not just unrelated people I don't care about who might sicken and die, it's members of at-risk populations within my congregation. Even those at a distance from us are still part of the "interconnected web" that we Unitarian Universalists respect. We work for justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations. That means while we cannot control all the harm we might do by mistake, we should try to reduce the harm we can influence. None of us are unconnected, for a UU, no one is outside the "family". As my spiritual teacher taught us from his spiritual training in the Lakota tradition, we honor "all our relations."
The good news is that we as a Fellowship do not need to think of reopening - WE WERE NEVER CLOSED! True, we are taking space from each other physically and listening to the best science we can find - holding it up all the while to the light of our reason and compassion - but the work, the mission of our community is alive and well!
What is that mission? It includes helping each other thrive through the many changes life brings us, honoring our transitions, and attempting to live our shared principles in a way that brings about the more beautiful world we know deep down is possible.
Rather than having the activity of our spiritual community suspended at this time, our work is MAGNIFIED. Now, more than ever we can support each other in knowing we're not alone in traversing our trials. Now, more than ever we can get creative collectively about how to help those who need us most. Now, more than ever we can turn our minds and hearts toward the goal of a world community, with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
Our "spiritual practice" as UUs does not depend on an ancient ritual, a consecrated space, an ordained charismatic leader- it focuses solely around living our values in the world. Staying home from church is how we practice our faith. (please keep coming to the zoom meetings though!)
There are many questions and real problems to be wrestled with in this global crisis. Let us not minimize or fail to empathize with any of them. But in terms of gathering, as for our house of worship, we shall honor our sacred interconnections. We'll do this by doing our best to protect each other. We shall re-open each day within, and keep our physical doors closed until we can open those in good conscience.
Let ours be a voice of faith that calls toward human-heartedness and global fellowship. May we lead by example, and take good care of each other in these trying times.
Bless you always and in all ways,
Rev. Fa Jun