2/19/17 sermon- Third Principal
Rev. Paul D. Daniel, Minister
Our Third Principle, the Acceptance of One Another and the Encouragement to Spiritual Grown in Our Congregations is a goal sometimes easier to espouse then to embody when people are very different then ourselves.
You see, life is messy and challenging and religions are often dogmatic. Churches are often filled with conflicting egos and spiritual perspectives. For example, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth the life.
No one comes to the Father, except through me. That leaves little room for other beliefs and faiths.
All faiths in Abraham Maslow’s words, tells us that human life is beyond itself, connecting to the cosmos”, open to all understanding, limited to no one religion.
This spiritual journey to connect is the foundation for all human needs and love is the path. The more we can achieve this union, the happier we will be. Maslow goes so far to say that “a
spiritual life is the basic component of our biological life”.
I believe, our spiritual lives are innate and instinctual arising from a deep inner voice that is wonderful, beautiful and awe inspiring. That voice, our conscience, opens us to experiencing the complexity of life’s journey, not as an enemy to be feared but as a friend.
Spirituality embodies our inner soul that cries out to the rest of humanity to offer and receive sustenance, both spiritual and material.
The fact that we are the richest country
in the world, yet many of our fellow countrymen go hungry and live in substandard housing and have inadequate medical care. Our social justice voice to bring justice and equity to all is our souls longing coming too reality to offering care and connection.
How we do that will vary greatly and truth be told sometimes their dharma runs over our karma and then the going really gets tough. Accepting one another path would be easier if we were all cut out of the same bolt of cloth, had the same patterns of behavior, the same warp and weave, the same texture. But the fabric of life is far more varied. We come from many separate bolts of cloth, with differing patterns, styles and conditions. We are one soul, yet different from one another, at least from the outside. The lives, the souls and the gifts we each bring to this church are priceless, for we each bring our authentic selves to enrich this community. It is here that we grow our souls.
Bernard Loomer, the UU theologian tells us, “the size of our souls as the defining concept of spirituality. S-I-Z-E means the capacity of a soul, the range and depth of our love, our capacity for relationships. It means the volume of life one can take into our being and still maintain our integrity and individuality,
the intensity and variety of outlook
we can entertain in the unity of our being, without feeling defensive or insecure. It is the strength of our spirit to encourage others to become freer in the development of their unique selves. This is the power to sustain more
complex and enriching tensions. This is “the magnanimity of concern to provide conditions that enable others to increase in stature” and never to diminish another.
Accepting others and ourselves regardless of the size of our soul is the root of our spiritual questing. Spiritual growth is about growing in all
directions at once. It is the path to understanding our place in the universe. It is the way of taking in the world in all its complexity and diversity, while maintaining our integrity.
Our spiritual journeys need to take us home, not through OZ as Dorothy’s did, but to a kind of similar truth that she found. There is no place like home, not Kansas, but home to our heart truest self, to our soul growth to achieve infinite capacity for growth and expansion. This nexus of heart and soul is what gives life meaning. In their coming together we are bestowed with the ability to create justice and peace, to love deeply, to share one’s soul with another in compassion and to offer hope to those in need.
Religious communities such as this are the matrix and medium for this to happen. UU Rob Hardes writes, “true spiritual growth: is hearts and
souls becoming larger and supple enough to embrace and to love-more and more of our complex world”.
If we are to grow and survive it is essential that we must find new ways to adjust to change that will open the door to personal growth. We need to accept and even come to love our differences and diversity.
Churches, including this congregation embody that very struggle to grow a soul and overcome our differences so we can find meaning for lives that suffer and experience pain.
We are suspended between two great mysteries, birth and death. This congregation can be the spiritual bridge for finding the hope we all need to come to peace with the knowledge that we will all eventually die. Our Third Principle creates the promise to do that. Here diverse community gather and people touches one another. It is possible that if we touch just one new soul, just one, we can unlock the door that leads to reconciliation and the uniting of all souls in one universal entity. UU minister Edward Frost reflects, that “our natural faith requires us to make a vow of commitment to support and encourage one another. We realize we cannot make it alone in life. We need to invest in one another’s humanity especially now when immigrants are in so much peril and cower in fear.
The church also calls us to make deep connections with our rich history, culture and with fellow sojourners, and the larger community”. In this community of redemption, we can take risks to help another’s soul grow. And in the process, we begin to become who we are meant to be.
In the end our spiritual journey is about encouraging one another to grow a soul. My friend and mentor Ken Collier said it well. “living our deepest reality, our deepest truth, our deepest value, into the world is soul work”. Our spiritual growth depends on stretching from self-acceptance to accepting the person next to us and then onto the rest of humanity.
Our faith offers that message of hope and promise for action to those in need. Here, we encourage one another to be fully and authentically human. Here we give and receive the vital encouragement to become more than we could become on our own. There is no better place to heal our souls than in this religious community. It is here that we commit ourselves to our Third Principle of accepting one another on our unique spiritual journey that makes our souls take wing to connects us to our fully human selves and the infinite spirit in us all.
May it be so!