February 2021

 “For Mercy has a human heart….” ~ William Blake

Our workshop on “Jesus for UUs” considered the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15.11-32) at our most recent meeting. A man has two sons. The younger one asks for his share of the father’s property, and the father agrees. The son goes far from home, where he “squanders his property in dissolute living.” Destitute, he resorts to feeding swine and eating the same pods the swine eat. He figures he would be better off working for his father as a slave, so he goes home.

But the father welcomes him joyfully and prepares a huge celebratory feast. The older son is angry. He has been loyal and hardworking, and his father has never feasted him. He refuses to join the party.

For 2,000 years people have told and found meaning in this story. It’s about sibling rivalry. It’s about the nature of parental love. And it is a parable about Jesus’ understanding that God is like a parent - merciful and loving even when a child has disappointed or strayed. That makes it a story that belongs to our Universalist heritage - the branch of our faith tradition that insisted that no one is damned. It is the Universalist belief in a merciful God that gives us our first UU principle, the principle affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

February can feel like a merciless month. We’ll spend some time exploring the topic of mercy - its tangled connections to power, its relationship to forgiveness. Our backdrop will include some of the oldest stories in the Hebrew Bible - stories of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We’ll ask what wisdom or inspiration we can find in them today.

I hope you are finding your own sources of wisdom and inspiration as we do our best to stay safe, maintain our connections to family, friends and one another, and look forward with hope to the time we can be together again.

I am ever grateful and honored to be your minister.  

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