You have likely heard about the lotus flower that grows up from the mud and is a central symbol in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. I’ve been thinking about the lotus and our church. One of the things that has been discussed at recent board meetings is how there seems to be some struggle with communication among leaders. Are leaders looping each other in? Are we striving towards compassionate and direct communication?
I think when people come to a religious community, it is easy to think that the place is the lotus. The beautiful petall-y thing floating along. Because isn’t “spiritual” about feeling good, praying, meditating, finding peace, finding hope? OF COURSE it’s not about anger, or hurt or conflict or conversation or fear or vulnerability.
UUs have long worked to focus our ‘spirituality’ on this earth, not somewhere far off in the sky; taught that being in community with humans and embracing our human-beingness is the path of healing. We have said beware of religions that only promise lotuses. Our church–we are the mud. We are the mud from which a lotus can grow. Last year when many of us provided balloons for the Charleston Church shooting vigil, we became a lotus. When members show up and support a member is who is housebound, we become a lotus. When a team or committee puts on a successful gathering or church event, we have a lotus moment. When we hang up a rainbow flag (which is in process by the way!), we become a lotus. We have our lotus moments, but only because day after day, we are immersed in the mud. Without the mud, there is not lotus.
So, let’s embrace our muddiness! How can the church mud nurture a lotus in your life and in the life of our community? What help do you need, from me the minister or from somebody else in the church?
This Sunday, Tina Godsey and Rev. Leroy Egenberger lead worship: Embracing the Person Behind the Uniform. As reported in our denomination, some Unitarian Universalists have been uncomfortable, and felt awkward, with military service members in our midst. Likewise, some veterans have felt they should not mention their service. Yet it is possible to embrace the veteran without embracing war.