“The earth laughs in flowers” writes 19th century Unitarian Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem Hamatreya. With the Valley in bloom and my dog making sure I am spending time each day in the orchards, I’ve been thinking a lot about our Transcendentalist ancestors. They were annoyed and fed-up with “cold, rational” Unitarianism and encouraged people to experience life first hand, rather than take someone else’s word for it. They were the first ones in our tradition to look outside of Christianity to Eastern religions (particularly Hinduism and Buddhism) for wisdom. And they believed if we spent time in nature, studied and understood it through careful and intentional reflection, we could discover enduring lessons about what it means to be human.
What does the blossoming valley teach you about 7our human being-ness (besides to make sure to stock up on antihistamines?)
This Sunday in worship, we will be activating our Transcendentalist roots and spending time amidst the Almond Tree Blossomings. Congregants will be invited to take a 10 minute contemplative walk through the almond orchard next to the church or to sit with me in our yard, behind the Johnson Building, to appreciate the blossoms.
Speaking of blossoming, at the end of worship, our congregation will take a courageous step in proclaiming our Universalist radical love and fly a rainbow flag in front of our church. Just one more way we can “love the hell” out of Stanislaus County!
Next week, I will be taking a week of study leave, where I am presenting a paper to a group of colleagues entitled “Finding our Loss– Resources for a Novel, Beautiful Future” In this paper, I pull together insights from process theology and trauma theory to suggest another avenue for understanding why Unitarian Universalists struggle to describe who and what we are. If you’d like a copy of the paper, just send me an email!