The trees are at peak right now. The vibrant hues of autumn paint our world with breathtaking beauty, yet we read the headlines and see so much strife, war, disconnection. I pray for safety in Israel and Palestine, Ukraine and Russia, Mexico, Haiti, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the Congo. I don’t know if there is more war now, or it seems I’m looking more at our world neighbors. We pray for peace (acknowledging that there is so much nuance lost in just praying for peace). Sometimes I am led to prayer while discerning action.
There is an election this November. Please remember to vote, and to vote your conscience and values.
The wisdom of Mary Oliver offers a balm to the sadness…
“Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.”
These words invite us to pause and embrace the gift of each day, to cherish the ordinary miracles that surround us, and to share our wonder with one another. It is connection that we accomplish the seemingly impossible.
In this season of reflection and gratitude, I am equally moved by Jericho Brown’s powerful assertion that “Love is an action, never simply a feeling.”
As we approach Thanksgiving, it is essential to recognize that true thankfulness extends beyond mere sentiment. It requires us to transform our appreciation into action, to live out our gratitude in ways that positively impact our lives and the lives of those we encounter.
These two remarkable poets offer us profound insights into the essence of transcendence and thanksgiving. It is a celebration not only of abundance but also of connection, both to the natural world and to one another. When we pay attention to the intricate tapestry of existence and allow ourselves to be
astonished by its complexity and beauty, we are drawn into a deeper sense of wonder and gratitude. We recognize that life itself is a gift, one that we have the power to enhance and share.
Our Unitarian Universalist community embodies the spirit of transcendent thanksgiving, where love and gratitude manifest as action. We come together to celebrate diversity, to support one another in times of need, and to uplift our shared values. It is in this community that we find the strength to act on our love, to manifest our gratitude through service and compassion.
As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables, ‘friends-givings,’ and family gathering and as we reflect on the blessings in our lives, let us not forget the call to action that gratitude entails. Let us share our love, our compassion, and our resources with those who may be in need. Let us pay attention to the world around us and be astonished by its wonders. In doing so, we transform the act of thanksgiving into a transcendent experience that uplifts our spirits and strengthens our bonds as a beloved community.
May this November be a month of reflection, gratitude, and action. May we, like Mary Oliver and Jericho Brown, find inspiration in the beauty and love that surround us, and may we use this inspiration to make the world a more just and compassionate place.
May it ever be so,