Spark of Love

“Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give to yourself…The light of love is always in us, no matter how cold the flame. It is always present, waiting for the spark to ignite, waiting for the heart to awaken…When we can see ourselves as we truly are and accept ourselves, we build the necessary foundation for self-love…whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment. Self love cannot flourish in isolation.”” bell hooks in All About Love: New Visions. 

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Upstate NY Farmhouse

Many of you have asked me how was my trip last week, visiting my family of origin and celebrating my father’s retirement (and helping him clean out his office).  My reply went something like “Good. And family is complicated. So it was good. And full.”   Spending time with the people who created and molded me always gets me thinking about love, because those are the people who taught me about what it meant and what it didn’t. And probably like many of you, some of the lessons I got taught I have needed to rewrite.

We UUs invoke the word “love” a lot.  “Love is the doctrine of this fellowship…” or “Standing on the Side of Love.”   One of the reasons Bob Santos and Dave Tucker have been working on putting up a wayside pulpit (we are in middle city permitting stuff apparently) is because we want to define what our kind of love is.  The rainbow flag we fly helps specify what kind of love our church represents.  And once we have a wayside pulpit where we can post signs like “Black Lives Matter” or “We Love Our Muslim Neighbor,”  we can continue to be even more specific about what our UU kind of love is.

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My brother Matt and me posing at my father’s retirement party

But UU love is not just about love we direct outside of ourselves or those we may call “others”– UUism about is about providing a place, what bell hooks’ calls ‘a loving environment,’ where we can learn to see our selves as we truly our, where we can learn to accept ourselves and we can learn to love ourselves.   And no matter how cold the flame, love is always present, waiting for the spark to ignite it–that is the blessing of this community.

I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday: Blessings of Community— John and Debbie Swearingen offer reflections on their 30 years as part of UUFSC, as well as blessings for our future.  Worship Leaders this week are Rev. Darcy, John and Debbie Swearingen, and Sabine Klein.

Also this Sunday, at around 12:30/12:45ish, I will be heading over to the Hindu Temple of Modesto, which is just a mile down the road on Tully Road.  They have invited folks to attend their service and  are holding a kind of open house afterwards. and I am going to go over and would love to have some UUFSCers join me.  I imagine I will stay for around 30 minutes.  Through the new multifaith clergy/leader group that started after the Election, I have gotten to know a few of the leaders there.  The Hindu Temple is located at 4801 Tully Road, just south of Kiernan Ave.




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