Thursday
Feb232017

Minister's Musings

Sharing Our Gifts

Today I attended the UUJAZ Day at the Legislature. It is powerful to come together! A number of UU leaders from all over the state prepared us for this day, researching legislation, making appointments with legislators from all districts, organizing an educational day for us. For me, a little intimidated by the nitty gritty of the democratic process, it was emboldening.

We met with our District 1 Senator Karen Fann and shared our passion for public education and equal justice for immigrants. She was probably not moved, but we raised our voices. Watching the House session was quite illuminating! We learned quite a bit about how to effectively engage the political process in different ways, from our UU colleagues. Sharing our gifts. UUJAZ brings us together for standing on the side of love.

It takes all of our gifts for this congregation and this faith to flourish. Singers, musicians, writers, teachers, organizers, activists, contemplatives, energizers, cooks, electricians, landscapers, philanthropists... Consider inviting a friend or neighbor to worship, so that we can share our gifts with them, and they might consider sharing their gifts with us.

This has been a life-giving faith for many of us, even life-saving for some. As we grow in numbers, diversity, and talent, the power of our faith to stand on the side of love grows too. The world needs us to share our gifts. The visionary minister Howard Thurman said, “Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Yours in life and love, Rev. Karla 

Thursday
Jan262017

Minister's Musings

Listening to colleagues check in at the UU Ministers’ Association retreat today, I am once again struck with the power of a congregation, a beloved community, to transform lives. These times have offered a rude re-awakening to the need for insisting on moral and ethical foundations for action. Our faith is rooted in an ethical covenant, principles for living that we promise to live into. Our congregation is the laboratory and the school and the nursery for developing, testing, and refining our ability, as individuals and as a group, to live our faith. Worshiping together, working together, playing together offer us the opportunities we need to practice being faithful.

“You must be present to win,” and none of us is as intelligent or creative individually as all of us are together. So showing up, and pitching in, are requirements for living a life of faith as a member of the beloved community. I am so appreciative of the high level of lay leadership and participation at Granite Peak, and impressed, and, I have a vision of even more. It is this covenantal faith that equips us to find meaning, rather than meaninglessness, and nothing is more central to our well-being (and to the well-being of the planet). I have a vision of deepening our religious commitment in these times calling for deepening, and for significant reflection and action. If we are to fulfill our congregational mission and vision, we need significant commitment from all of us. May we find sustenance in a life of faith and meaning.

In loving kindness, yours in service, Rev. Karla

Monday
Nov282016

Minister's Musings

We are truly a lively beloved community, seeking wisdom from many sources and working for a just and compassionate world. Life is very, very full here. This year, some of our members have moved away, some have passed on; we miss them and think of them often.

We have welcomed many visitors and quite a few new members and two newborns, delighting in the addition of their unique energies and perspectives to the wild mix of us. Keep inviting friends and acquaintances; we have here what many seek!

These cold sunny days and deep dark nights, punctuated with gatherings of friends and family, offer opportunities for introspection, acknowledging our loss, and celebrating our togetherness. Make room for all of it. Light candles, say blessings, sing songs, give gifts, cook wonderful food; rituals and traditions help us to process and mark our lives. Offer hospitality to others, even strangers, in the spirit of generosity, for the good of your own well-being.

Be mindful how you frame and approach whatever holidays are meaningful for you this season. Consider the meaning of each way you choose to celebrate. Maybe it is time to shake up your traditions, bringing them into line with your religious values...

Let Peace radiate out from our hearts to the very heart of the world! Shalom, Salaam, Shanti.

Thursday
Oct272016

Minister's Musings

I love the bittersweet autumn best. So much beauty, even as life dies away. It makes me aware of how precious each moment of awareness is, and how natural is the circle of life, the wheel of the seasons, the continuum of birth and death. As k.d. lang sings, “Love made sweet and sad the same...”

Recently the congregation suffered the loss two be- loved members whose lives came to a close, and we have shared the joy and wonder of the births of two new babies. Together, we celebrate the Spirit of Life in all its faces. Here is a favorite Mary Oliver poem.

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Thursday
Sep222016

Minister’s Musings

Transforming Worship

The word worship comes from an ancient English word for “worth”; it is about paying attention to that which has the greatest worth in our lives.  Worship is meant to be public; it is for anyone who walks in our door (not just the gathered congregation).  Worship can be reflective, healing, celebratory, educational.  It can reach heart, mind, soul.  It uses words, meditation, music, silence, images, song, and movement to reach us.  

In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, we have no one way of practicing worship.  We like to incorporate many different theologies, traditions, and styles in order to be inclusive and meaningful to the mixed bouquet of souls in the sanctuary.  In any one worship service, and from one service to the next, we hope that there will something of worth for each one present.  For you.

Our worship committee is working on designing practices that will best serve this mission, so we will be trying different things in the coming months.  We may do announcements and joys and sorrows differently, in service of creating and maintaining sacred space.  We may try changing the way we do many of the elements of the liturgy.  Worship Chair Sue Boyce, Music Director Lynne Haeseler, and I welcome your considered and loving feedback as we transform worship into transformative worship.  May our lives continually be transformed in meaningful ways.

In Faith, Rev. Karla