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Desert Notes March 7, 2024

Love is our Doctrine. Service is our prayer. Justice is our calling.

Desert Notes March 7, 2024

As I prepare for some time off with my family followed by some retreat time with colleagues, I am also in the midst of many busy preparations.  I am officiating a wedding and a baby blessing this month, blessing a house, participating in an ordination, and hopefully publishing an opinion editorial with two Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) colleagues on the “YIGBY” housing bill.  In addition, I am counting down the days that I have a daughter in college (graduation in May!) and how long we have with her before she travels to serve in the Peace Corps.  

This month we look at the value of transformation.  Many of us have experienced personal transformation–which I like to think of as more than just change–it’s life altering change, the kind that opens new doors, ideas, and possibilities. Transformation alters reality, and it can be discombobulating, scary, uncomfortable, ecstatic and exhausting.  In my life I’ve experienced a few transformations.  Getting married and getting divorced; leaving a job that I’ve been at for a long time (11 years, 6 years); moving to a new state (I’ve lived in 6), becoming a mom, and becoming a minister, organizing for political change (to name a few).  Although there was a piece of those changes that was visible, most of what was happening was happening inside of me.  Inside, I was experiencing grief, fear, excitement and yearning, curiosity, affirmation…a wide range of feelings!  I found new strengths, let go of ideas that didn’t serve me anymore, and made space for new experiences.  

Transformation can also be experienced by a family, a group, or a community. The words in our proposed new language for Article II in the UUA bylaws say:  “We adapt to the changing world. We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.”  When we commit to transformation as a community, we agree to share this growth and the insights that come with it.  It also means we will grieve together, be scared together, and let go of old ideas together and embrace new possibilities together.  It also means we will witness each other’s changes, and in witnessing we will affirm with love the new self that is emerging. Collective transformation requires us to simultaneously tend to our own needs and to make space for the needs of others, and sometimes these are in tension with one another.  This month I hope you’ll lean into the tension and ask yourself what is being transformed in and around you.  Can you be a midwife for what is being birthed? Rev. angel Kyodo Williams says:  “There is something dying in our society, in our culture, and there’s something dying in us individually. And what is dying, I think, is the willingness to be in denial. And that is extraordinary. It’s always been happening, and when it happens in enough of us, in a short enough period of time at the same time, then you have a tipping point, and the culture begins to shift…”  Here’s to the shift! 

–Rev. Sarah