A week ago, on March 10, I preached at All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington, D.C. This was almost a week before the families of innocent worshipers at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand would find their lives upended by violence and grief. It was days before one national leader would make the immediate, brave, rational and humane call for their government to drastically limit access to lethal weapons and before another world leader would ignorantly dismiss the growing trend of white supremacist terrorism as being attributable to only a “small group of people” despite concrete evidence to the contrary.
In the face of white supremacy, xenophobia and racist isolationism becoming a more volatile international threat, I believe we must double down on our convictions to love one another. Faith is a good place to start. I am embarrassed to point out that my own faith, Unitarian Universalism, does not include the word love in the language of its principles. In this moment, in search of some way to make sense of this sadness, I have to imagine if they did…
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With the addition of a love based 8th principle to address race and a 9th principle directed at naming embodiment, this becomes a manifesto that speaks to our times. Elie Wiesel stated that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. No faith community should be content with indifference and Unitarian Universalists should not be content with indifferent and non-specific principles. We can’t afford to simply “side with love”…we must learn how to BE love, how to LIVE love if we are ever going to love the hell out of this world.
May the prayers of the world wrap those who are in pain in the midst of this tragedy in the warm embrace of a shared humanity. May we all be assured that through this immeasurable and unspeakable loss, love does still exists in this world. It must. It is all we’ve got.
Demanding Love – Sermon Preached at All Souls Church Unitarian, Washington, DC – 3/10/19