The Darkening of Days

Dear Ones,

As we enter the month of December, we may notice the darkening of days. Darkness offers us an invitation to enter a space of unknowing– a space of mystery, quiet, comfort, and rest. I invite us to enter that space of contemplation– to slow down and to consider all that may be arising from the shadows.

This is also a time of much unrest and reactivity, in which these gifts of darkness are so desperately needed. Feelings of grief, anger, sorrow and hopelessness are ever-present in us as we witness the violence and trauma in the Middle East and within our own communities.

We hold the tension of our lives and the world’s divisions in our hearts. I believe our call as a community at this time is to nurture the gifts of darkness- mystery, peace, and contemplation- as we seek to respond to the world from a place of liberating love. We need space to share our feelings, to lament and light candles, to sing and cry and pray. Our evening Vespers service, held every month on the 2nd Wednesday, offers a space of gathering with a focused intention on cultivating inner and community peace in these days. Now more than ever we are invited to vigil- to lift our voices in the many languages of peace, or to allow our hearts to be moved by beautiful instrumentation and silent prayer.

We are also invited to cultivate the darkness by exploring the shadows- those spaces of tension or difficult emotion that we too often subdue. The Anti-Oppression Team has been exploring ways of holding difficult conversations. We are bound by covenant in many spaces at UUC, including our small group ministries and religious education classes. Finding ways to slow down and explore when we are impacted by another’s words- however intended- is a conflict transformation skill that takes work and time. It is our work to do in these small groups, in this community.

This movement inward also calls us to speak outward from a place of liberating love. Together I urge us to speak strongly against all expressions of hate which dehumanize human beings- especially the rise of Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia which we are seeing in these times. I urge us to call for an immediate return of hostages and an end to the horrific violation of human rights and the destruction of innocent lives in Israel and Gaza. As a community of diverse identities and histories we hold many perspectives on the long-standing conflicts in the Middle East; yet as Unitarian Universalists we are called to affirm the inherent dignity of all people and to speak out against all forms of dehumanization.

In this time of darkness, let us journey both inward and outward to create the peace that is so urgently needed in our lives and in our world.

In peace,
Rev. Terri