I pick sermon topics ahead of time, and I write descriptive blurbs, but I never really know what my sermons are about until I actually write them. For March, however, I can’t help noticing there may be some common threads.
One of those threads is related to the fourth principle that Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote: “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” Religious questions and religious experience are ultimately about finding and making meaning. Paul Tillich, one of the noted liberal theologians of the 20th century, wrote that being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers.
Can we discover the Truth—about the meaning of existence? About less heady things? Is there an answer? Note that Tillich says “being willing to receive answers,” using the plural.
Our first service in March features members and friends of our UU Jazz group. Many forms of jazz begin with a tune, played straight, as originally written. After the tune is played through, the musicians take turns making something new out of this basic structure. We might think of the original tune as a statement of truth, and the improvisations as responses to the question, “But is that all there is?”
The second service, on March 11, is a 10 AM service for all ages. It will be built around an improvisation on the classic myth about Pandora. Is it possible to hide truths about life’s difficulties? What would happen if we could?
On March 18, I’ll base my reflections on the film, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” a documentary the Big Ol’ Gay Committee will show on March 16. In that film, parents and their adult gay and lesbian children share journeys colored by literalist biblical “faith” that taught them that homosexuality is a sin. They are gripping stories of struggle, and varying degrees of coming to terms, with different kinds of truth.
Finally, on March 25, our youth will lead us in worship, giving us a glimpse of their own searches for truth and meaning as they explore impermanence and transformation.
I look forward to discovering what will emerge, as spring officially makes its entrance. Here is one of my already-discovered truths: I am blessed and grateful to be your minister.