Uncertainty and Possibility – June 2020

From Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Senior Co-Minister

There are many jokes about Unitarian Universalists and some of them are even funny. Many revolve around our comfort with uncertainty. Here are two: 

Visitors on a tour of Heaven noticed a group of Unitarian Universalists, who were arguing about whether or not they were really there.

Unitarian Universalist prayers:

“Dear God, if there is a God, please save my soul, if I have a soul.”

 “To whom it may concern…”

Well… if Unitarian Universalists are comfortable with uncertainty – if we root our faith in the font of unknowing – than we are well poised to make it through this trying time together. This is a time of uncertainty – a time when we can make plans, but we must hold them gently. This doesn’t mean that this time is easy for us – only that we are a part of a tradition that has prepared us for the uncertainty of this journey. 

Recently UUA president, Susan Fredrick Gray,  shared a letter with our member congregations. In it she said we would do well to prepare for virtual gatherings continuing through May 2021. (Deep breath) This is in no way what I would wish for us. If however, this turns out to be the wise and compassionate choice, I imagine our congregation’s leaders will follow this recommendation. 

We don’t really know what tomorrow may bring. We are, however, seeking with vigilance to make the most ethical decisions possible – for our members, friends, and for our wider communities.

And that reminds me of another Unitarian Universalist joke which supposedly derives from a real conversation between a Methodist and the great Universalist preacher, Hosea Ballou. The Methodist asserted, “If I were a Universalist and feared not the fires of hell, I could hit you over the head, steal your horse and saddle and ride away, and I’d still go to heaven!” Ballou answered, “If you were a Universalist, the idea would never occur to you!”

In these times of uncertainty, we are held by our faith – a faith that has prepared us for this journey – and a faith that instills in us the call to be, in every way, ethical. It is an honor to be on this journey with you. It is my solemn promise that wherever this journey leads, your ministers and your congregation will be there to support you.