“For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
One thing that is hard about Unitarian Universalism is that our faith of hope and love is not dependent on supernatural forces. We instead believe that we must create goodness through intentional effort. We do not believe that goodness is inevitable, but we see that the whole span of human history has gradually expanded the reach of justice and compassion, even if that progress has not been constant or without setbacks.
Our hope is that humanity will learn, and that as we learn we will choose more wisely how we deal with our problems. It is a hope that is rooted in historical fact, but it is still a kind of faith that isn’t always easy. There have been and will be days that test that faith and call into question the wisdom of our species and our collective ability to learn from mistakes.
That is why we come together, as congregations and as a movement; an association of congregations. Together we remind each other of the commitment and of our history of building a better world for the future. Together, when one of us is overwhelmed, we can shelter them and lend them strength. Together, when there is anger, we can direct that energy towards a positive result.
That is what makes us a religion, and it is why it matters that we are religious, together. It allows us to have our lapses and our weaknesses, and to use our strengths to support one another. It allows us to hang on to the dream of a wide and diverse Beloved Community in spite of those who threaten that goal. It matters that we remind one another of our own inherent worth and dignity, and encourage one another to grow.
It isn’t an easy hope to maintain some days, but it is vital that we nurture it, because it is that hope that allows us to work lovingly for change, even when we are angry or afraid. It is the promise that our efforts are part of a long history of making the world more fair and loving that is our salvation story.
Salvation, in this world, all together.