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First UU Blog

Columns and occasional online reflections from First UU Ministers, staff and members of our community.

 

 

Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Roads for Traveling Souls PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Friday, 16 June 2017 00:00

blog jb road

“However sheltered this port, and however calm these waters, we must not anchor here; however welcome the hospitality that surrounds us, we are permitted to receive it but a little while.”

 

Those words are Walt Whitman’s, from his iconic poem, “Song of the Open Road.” My time has come to set sail.

July 9 will be my farewell worship service with you. As I’m preparing for that Sunday, I’m recalling the joys and challenges of our two-year journey together. Now it’s time for our paths to diverge. My journey, shared with First UU Columbus for two remarkable years, continues. So does yours. I’m setting off for the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa (like First UU, a flagship congregation in its region). You’ll soon be welcome the Rev. Marian Stewart as your settled Senior Minister.

Roads for traveling souls.

It’s been a joy to serve this congregation, to experience the warmth and commitment of the people who make this their spiritual home. I’m grateful to my colleagues who have ministered with me here: Rev. Eric Meter, Rev. Lane Campbell, and Brian Hagemann, First UU’s Director of Administration. I’m happy for First UU and for my long-distance colleague, Rev. Marian. I know that this wonderful community, with renewed zest for its mission, looks forward to a future of great promise.

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Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Zest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:00

blog jb happydogI love dogs. I admit it freely. It even runs in the family: we call my mother “Dog Woman” (and she gladly accepts the title). Dogs are drawn to her, probably because she always welcomes them. Aren’t people like that, too? Aren’t we drawn to someone who welcomes us, who offers kind words, food, and a soft place to lie down?

My dog Rosie is solar-charged. On a sunny day she stretches out on the grass and offers herself unabashedly to the Sun God.  It’s as if she has a soul-deep knowledge of the wisdom that resonates through her connection with the Earth and sky. People need that, too: the sun’s rays re-stocking our Vitamin D supply, the gentle cradle of the ground; the soft movement of the air. For me, it’s a hammock under the dappled sun-and-shade of the lilacs.

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Rev. Eric Meter - Links PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Eric Meter   
Thursday, 01 June 2017 00:00

blog em handsOne of my favorite God stories comes from the late Rev. Howard Thurman, who founded and pastored the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, perhaps the first intentionally interracial church in the country. 

A young boy is afraid of the dark and is having trouble going to sleep. His mother tells him that it is safe because God will be with him in the dark. All he needs to do when he is afraid is to pray and God will be by his side. But the boy remains fearful. At length he says to his mother, “Mommy, will you please ask God to put some skin on and then I will be alright.”  

Now, my understanding of God may be more poetic than many, but I love this little story. There are times, not only in childhood, when we want, even need, our comfort to have shape and texture. We want the source of our solace to be embodied, in other words. Abstractions will just not do. 

When I have been asked to offer what is often called Extending the Hand of Fellowship at ordination and installation ceremonies, I take the hand of the person being ordained or installed in mine and mention what I find there. 

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Rev. Lane Campbell - Embody Love PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Lane Campbell   
Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

blog lc embodyloveI met a stranger a few weeks ago while walking back from a prayer march in Columbus. We had marched about a mile away, held prayer space with elected officials, police officers, and the mother of a young man who had been killed by police. We sang, prayed, listened, held silence, and the day had been quite full. I walked back with the women who had been leading us in song all evening long. Rain had started to fall and it was dark out. I looked around ant introduced myself to one of the women walking back. We talked about our experiences of the prayer march together.

Early on in our conversation, she mentioned that her religious beliefs required her to extend love to every stranger, every person she meets. This woman is part of a much more conservative line of Christianity and I have to say I came to the conversation with a bit of bias. But she told me her religious tradition asks that she love the elected officials, even when they make decisions she disagrees with. Her church teaches her to love the police officers, even when they do wrong and do not protect those they are meant to serve. And her God calls her to love the brokenhearted mother who is deeply grieving the loss of her child.

Our conversation and connection in that moment inspired ad challenged me. To truly embody love means to hold love for the folks I agree with as well as those I don’t. This woman shared with me how this call has asked her to stretch and grow, to treat others truly how she wants to be treated.

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Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Embodiment PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 00:00

blog jb bikefunIt was a warm spring day and I pedaled as fast as possible along Rustic Bridge Road, leaning into the turns. I wasn’t really going very fast, but fast enough to be exhilarating, especially on the downhills. Joy bubbled up from deep inside. All my senses were cheering me on. The wind was in my teeth. I flew.

Ahead I spotted two children, perhaps 8 years old, pedaling madly toward me on their little bikes. Waves of exhilaration preceded them. They grinned fiercely as they leaned forward over the handlebars, obviously striving to go as fast as they could. They passed me in a split second, ignoring me completely. The wind was in their teeth. They flew.

In the whirl and flash of their passing, wonderment arose. I didn’t simply remember being eight years old and riding my bike like that; I felt eight years old again. The thrill of effort and motion; the instinctive grace of balance; the connection to the bicycle and through it to the ground; the air on my face and in my lungs: it has always felt like this.

In our high-tech society, too often we live in our heads. Our fingers move on the keyboard or the TV remote or to tap on an app on a mobile device. Perhaps we make a special trip, by car, to the gym or the pool. What have we lost?

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