The politics of greed is at play when folks seek love. They often want fulfillment immediately. Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know genuine love we have to invest time and commitment. As John Welwood reminds us in Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love, “dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of love – which is to transform us.” Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling… More often than not they do not want to do the work that love demands. When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs on love.– excerpted from All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
Spoiler alert: this excerpt from bell hooks is my sermon “seed” for our service this Sunday. And the line “More often than not they do not want to do the work that loved demands” has been sitting with me. There are so many reasons why people decide to get involved in a congregation. Often times, people are seeking to find like-minded people, want to explore meaning and purpose, and build up a sense of belonging. All of these are great reasons to be involved in a congregation. And, as your Unitarian Universalist minister, I have to say we are here for something more because this is what the Unitarian Universalist traditions teaches us: We are here to experience radical love and help others experience radical love. We are here to be transformed by an experience of love and community that is different than anywhere else in life.
So many of you are already working so hard, it seems a little mean to say “yes, you even need to do more work.” But the work that love demands is not like other kind of work. It’s often not about more “doing.” The work that love demands requires being self-reflective, looking at yourself, what you do, and why. It means participating in relationships in healthy ways, particularly when the relationship gets hard– when you feel hurt, disappointed, or betrayed. It requires vulnerability, honesty, respect, and consideration. Saying all this stuff is relatively easy– it is much MUCH harder to practice and live it out. This is what I think our congregation is for– a space and people with whom to practice and practice, and practice the work of love.
I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday: Loving More Than Your Reflection–Too often we confuse love with the experience of another person reflecting back to us what we want to see–the version of ourselves we so want to see. Our Universalist heritage asks us to move beyond these deceptive practices of ego gratifying reflection to find true love. Worship Leaders: Rev. Darcy, Haruko DeArth, and Carol Festejo.