This gentle flame is the roaring inferno of transformation,
for only through freedom of belief may we become what we will
May our chalice melt the shackles of superstition and creed,
lighting our way on the path of spiritual growth and freedom.
Hymn 135, How Happy Are They, begins with the following lyric:
How happy are they, born or taught,
who do not serve another’s will;
Whose armor is their honest thought,
and simple truth their highest skill.
“As I would not be a slave, neither would I be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“Our brand of democracy is hard. But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen – inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.”
– Barack Obama
from Jeff Liebmann
An irony of language involves the word “religion.” Derived from the same root word “ligio” that gives us the word “ligament,” religion actually translates to “that which binds us together again and again.” And yet, the professed point of many religions is to liberate us from suffering and evil.
So, how do we find liberation by binding ourselves repeatedly? For some, the bond is dogmatic acceptance of a common creed. For others, it is the relinquishing of certain choices and responsibilities to divine Providence. But, Unitarian Universalists view themselves as working hands of Providence in the world.
We seek and achieve liberation through democratic community; by finding and celebrating our common commitments with souls engaged on the same spiritual journey. In our congregations, we give voice to our beliefs, and we amplify those voices through free discourse and a pulpit that inspires without dictating.
Mindfulness and Action
On this fifth day of Chalica, we affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
You’re invited to select one of the questions or suggestions below for conversation with others or personal reflection. Suggestions for activities with children are included. Consider giving a gift that honors democracy.
• What can I do to be of public service, or help those willing to serve in office?
• Can I write a letter to an elected official on a matter of importance?
• How can I help a committee in my congregation?
• Could I host a dinner or gathering to discuss an important issue, or perhaps lead a class to study a significant ethical issue?