In order to deepen our understanding of Sabbath, the theme for January, our worship services on January 27th focused on the subject of family, both the family you inherit and the family you choose. We asked members of the congregation to share their experiences of family and how they use Sabbath to replenish these relationships.
“The Unitarian Church in Summit is Family in a Time of Sabbath” by Gary.Have any of you ever felt alone, really alone? And if you have, was the feeling most powerful, ironically, when you were in the company of others? Sometimes, the loneliest feeling is not to be left off the invitation list; it is to be present at a party where you don’t feel a connection with anyone. I think we spend most of our lives, to one extent or another, seeking those who might lessen that loneliness, who might serve as our second, chosen family. Perhaps many of you have found that here, as I believe I have. If Unitarian Universalism is the religion you choose; then perhaps it can also be the family you choose, as well. I choose to be part of a family that believes in social action; that cares about the dispossessed, the disadvantaged and the suffering. I choose to be part of a family that is committed to raising a community of sexually healthy children and young adults, that understands that sex education is not just about explaining the dangerous Russian Roulette of potential disease, but it is just as much about teaching fifteen year old kids not to treat people like bright, shiny objects to pick up and then discard. It is about teaching them to bring their best selves to the encounter; to care; to hope; to carry a lover’s burdens; to stick around. I choose to be part of a family that is led by a group of ministers overflowing with warmth and compassion, informed by a religious philosophy that celebrates our differences; honors our humanity; and is emblematic of a true religious tolerance, not just in word, but also in deed. And above all else, a religious philosophy that is informed by a deeply held belief that we should never, ever tolerate abuse, whether it is abuse of the scorned, the marginalized or even of the Earth itself. I choose to spend my Sabbath here with my chosen family, sitting in this hallowed sanctuary, listening to sermons filled with optimism and insight. I commit to use this brief time to try and reacquaint with my best self, not the one given over to professional endeavors or adult responsibilities. But the more basic and simple part of myself, the inside part, the part I was born with and that I will someday leave with. My Sabbath is spent with this, my chosen family, endeavoring to return, to subtract and subtract, until what is left each Sunday morning is the lightness at the center where my soul resides. In short, I choose to spend my Sabbath here with all of you. And I am renewed.