Making Sanctuary for Future Generations.

Oct. 29, 2018.

By Assistant Minister Rev. Sarah Caine.

The lens through which we interact with one another is the essence of UUCF. It is the Heart of Our Promise. Some of you may remember this phrase from Ingathering or the banners around campus. As October draws to a close and we end our theme of Sanctuary, it seems the perfect time to revisit this nebulous thing – this program that’s not quite a program but more of a way of thinking and being that we talked about at Ingathering. Hopefully, it will be useful as we reflect on the kind of legacy and blessing we want to offer our future people.

The Heart of Our Promise is rooted in the offerings of our spiritual and familial ancestors – their struggle for our ability to be in this community with all our various thexlogies* and backgrounds. It’s the sanctuary we prepare to be, that we recognize through this place and our relationships, that which is beyond and within ourselves. The Heart of Our Promise is our offering to the generations to come. The foundations on which they will live in Beloved Community, and they will live in Beloved Community, Amen?

The Heart of Our Promise aims to create Beloved Community where houses of worship are free of fear and filled with love. It creates and imagines a place and time where disagreement is a healthy part of life that builds strength and deeper understanding, and is not fuel for rancor or division.

There is a question that gets asked of us repeatedly here when we first visit a congregation, when we share our stories in services or during the Annual Giving Campaign: Why do we come here? When we don’t feel it is necessary for our salvation to be in this building at this time, what draws us to be in sacred space anyway? There’s something different about the way we are here from how we are in any other place. We are in deep time here. Sure, we watch the clock if we have kids in RE or have an appointment to get to, but we are in deep time when we come to services. We are in relationship with our ancestors and our distant descendants while we touch into our faith together. That is deep time, not linear or isolated. It’s timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly – interconnected and intentionally interactive with the entire arc of our existence.

If you can notice that shift, be it in how you listen, how you feel in your body, how you lower the guard that can be required to move through this world of uncertainty. That shift is when you are living the Heart of Our Promise. It might be doing the dishes for a community that held you through a divorce or the death of a loved one. Or teaching children who have more freedom to imagine a world of peace and fantastic possibility. It’s not the same as hope, because we come here even when we feel hopeless and there’s no magic wand that can get us out of that hole sometimes, but it might include hope. The Heart of Our Promise calls us to take one more breath, to do the next right thing, to keep on moving forward even if we won’t see the fruits of our labor in this lifetime.

This persistence in the face of the siren song of fear, isolation and hurried lives requires being present and aware of the preparation you make to be the sanctuary you are. This presence brings the ability to find a stillness or a righteous roar. It’s bigger than Sunday services. It goes through and beyond Covenant Groups or your mindfulness practice. These are tools and methods of reaching and perceiving that living, immortal Heart. The Promise that started with questions from the first ancestor. The Promise that continues into a time of liberation in a land where justice flows like water and peace like an everflowing stream. For trans folks, black folks, immigrating-across-arbitrary-borders folks. What legacy do you want to dream? What threads of this Heart, this Promise, do you want to weave into the tapestry of deep time?

If you’d like to engage in the Heart of Our Promise but don’t know where to start, we have trained spiritual docents waiting to connect with you. Please email me and I will match you with a docent who can help.

*Thex is the gender-neutral term for god in modern thexlogical circles.