Courage calls for daily discipline.
Published September 25, 2016
What does it mean to live a life of integrity in times of crisis? Last week, PBS broadcast a documentary about the Sharps, a Unitarian couple who risked their lives to save intellectuals and journalists, including refugee Jews, and later children, from Nazi-dominated Europe. Whlie this newsletter is for Universalist Christians, but I suspect most of you, the readers, are members of Unitarian Universalist churches, so the connection is close and the names and stories are very familiar. Of course, there was Universalist war relief work, particularly to help starving people in the Netherlands, and before that, in the “great war” the John van Schaick mission for Belgian war relief. There was plenty of service to honor.
But it’s not enough to look to the courage of a few, past and present, and feel satisfaction or even gratitude. The Universalist Christian mission must include, as an adjunct to the proclaimed hope of a general salvation, a culture of general courage and daring. There might be less demand for the high calling of “sacrificial spirit” in extreme times if, in the words of the Washington Declaration, we cultivate “good-will” to “overcome evil and progressively establish the Kingdom of God” in daily life. hat does it mean to live a life of integrity at all? This means, at the very least I believe, challenging the banal hatreds, snoberies and biases that keep other people — and ourselves — divided and eternally scrambling. The sexist assumption at work or the unchallenged racist joke. The “helpful” word that overrides others and the thoughtless “aid” that benefits the giver’s reputation more than the recipient are two more.
Daily courage is, by definition, exceptional, but perhaps if we develop a taste for it in the inspiring stories like the Sharps’s, then their heroism is doubled and our path lightened.
Request: Do you have experience soft or crisp (but not hard) gluten-free bread with few ingredients, a plain taste and no other allergens. It can be steamed or made on a griddle if those are practical options. For communion use, of course. I would like to see if there’s a gluten-free table bread that can be adapted.
Reminder: be sure to sign up for the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship Revival conference. It will take place next month in one of three places: The Welcome Table, near Tulsa, Oklahoma; First UU Church of San Diego; and First Church in Chestnut Hill, in metro Boston.
(The Rev.) Scott Wells