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January 2019 Family Ministry by Kathy E. Smith

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Words to Live By

Unitarian Universalism affirms that creation is too grand, complex, and mysterious to be captured in a narrow creed. That is why we cherish individual freedom of belief. At the same time our convictions lead us to other affirmations: That the blessings of life are available to everyone, not just the Chosen or the Saved; That Creation itself is Holy; the earth and all its creatures, the stars in all their glory; That the Sacred or Divine, the Precious and Profound, are made evident not in the miraculous or supernatural but in the simple and the everyday; That human beings, joined in collaboration with the gifts of grace, are responsible for the planet and its future; That every one of us is held in Creation's hand, a part of the interdependent cosmic web, and hence strangers need not be enemies; That no one is saved until we All are saved, where All means the whole of Creation; That the paradox of life is to love it all the more even though we ultimately lose it.-- UU minister, the Rev. William F. Schulz

What World Are We Creating?

When we talk about creation in a spiritual context, so often the path we go down is “where did life come from?”  This (or some variant) is one of the classic “big questions”.  It’s easy to get lost in wondering around that question.  But in all this exploring about “where did we come from?”, we often forget to challenge our children – and ourselves – with the other part of the creation question, which is “what are we creating now?” 

As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize that the answer to the first question is not one that we will all agree on an answer to, and that’s okay.  It is why we tell many creation stories in our sermons and classes.  And it is why, even when we focus on the scientific answers of evolution and biology, we encourage children and adults alike to reach for the mystery beyond what they can see and touch.   

As Unitarian Universalists, however, we do share an answer to the second question.  We commit to spend more time working on where we’re going than wondering where we came from.  As the Rev. Schulz says, we are part of this world, and it is sacred space.  We are creating the world we live in, every day.  There is so much work, and it is so hard.  Where do we start?  How do we do it? 

Christian theologian Matthew Fox talks about the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, four metaphorical paths in an ever-repeating cycle, always returning to the light (the Via Positiva).  He uses language drawn from medieval Christian spirituality, but I think that the four paths are good concepts to teach folks of all ages – to be intensely aware, to focus on where we are in the moment, and to seek that which infuses meaning into our days. 

The Via Positiva – Live in the light.  Praise what is good.  Celebrate the seasons.  Be grateful.  Love each other.

The Via Negativa – Life is both light and darkness.  Don’t whine and complain.  Grieve what needs to be grieved.  Cry as long as you need to, authentically.  Then let the light return. 

The Via Creativa – We are meant to create.  Use your gifts.  Use them and release them into the world.  Channel the light through you. 

Via Tranformitiva – Let the path transform you.  Love this amazing world with everything you are.  Live with awareness.  Give your gifts.  Let your experiences of love and awareness and giving help you do the work of justice. 

We all walk these paths as individuals.  We come together in church community to share the journey.  See you in church this January.