In the Interim: Reverend Terry Sweetser

In June we ponder what it means to be a people of blessing. We ask ourselves what we dare and how we can help each other, to live the lives we wish we would. Blessing is about, and this is our message for the month, Blessing is about the help we need, to do what needs to be done for love.

What Does It Mean to Be A People of Blessing?

A friend once shared, “I guess after plan A fails, I need to remember there's still a whole alphabet out there.” It’s not just our friend who needs help remembering that there’s a whole alphabet out there; it’s all of us. 

We all get stuck in wanting things a certain way. We all, at times, focus so intently on the few things going wrong that we completely miss the dozens of things going right. Tunnel vision too often takes over our days. For Unitarian Universalists, this is the central tragedy of the human condition. We respect those who frame the human problem as sin or twisted wills, but it’s nearsightedness that our religion is most worried about. 

Which is also why blessings are so central to our faith. They are, for us, a way of widening our view. Unlike some of our brother and sister religions, we don’t say a lot of blessings. Instead we point to them. For us, blessings are not something we give to each other as much as they involve us helping each other notice all that’s already been given to us. 

And it’s not just about widening our view to see the gifts themselves; it’s about widening our understanding of life. Pointing to blessings repairs our relationship with life, allowing us to see it as generous not threatening, full of grace-filled surprises not dominated by a cold indifference. And there’s a lot at stake when it comes to this wider view. 

When the world seems stingy to us, we are stingy to others. Those who feel blessed have little trouble passing blessings on. Our tradition takes this calculus seriously. As UU minister, Rev. Don Wheat, puts it, “The religious person is a grateful person, and the grateful person is the generous person.” 

By noticing our blessings, we become a blessing. So, this month the question in front of all of us is not simply “Do you notice the blessings surrounding you?” It’s also, “How are the blessings in your life leading you to bless others?” That “whole alphabet” out there doesn’t just happen on its own; we add to it. Blessings don’t just fill us up; they cause us to overflow. Life spills into us and we spill into others. In other words, blessings don’t just enrich us; they connect us. And maybe that is the greatest blessing of all.

Dear friends as I leave you at the end of June, I take with me your blessing. Thank you for being a blessing to me.

See you in my memories!

Reverend Terry Sweetser

June 3, 2018