Perhaps we might think of saying grace not as an opportunity to retrofit a childhood prayer or practice but, rather, as an opportunity to simply pause . . . to simply take in the profound reality that the earth’s profound abundance – as well as profound human and animal sacrifices – have once again brought us life in the form of a protein and two sides on a round plate.
My hope for you and for me is that whatever we each believe anchors and guides us in rough going. And, while our life experiences will shake us up from time to time and may leave us in doubt about who we are and where our lives are headed, may we know that a strong faith can also be a flexible, fluid and changeable faith . . . and that we may, from time to time, uncover a new and more meaningful strain of it.
My guess is that we all have let go and closed doors on parts of our lives . . . and we’ve had doors unexpectedly close upon us. The pain we experience in these moments may crowd out life’s light for a little while or for a very long time.
But with time and kindness, my hope for you and for me is that it’s also possible for light to re-enter our lives through open doors . . . perhaps just a little at first, but also just enough for us to know that the light is always there.
It seems that the train ride across the Mississippi invited Hughes to honor the flow of pain and promise experienced by African Americans, as well as his own deep wisdom.
At our UUA General Assembly, which took place in New Orleans on the shores of the historic Mississippi, I received an invitation, too, of both a different and similar sort. There was much discussion this year about building greater awareness of the ways we unknowingly perpetuate systems of white supremacy within Unitarian Universalism. Congregations were asked to have courageous and beloved conversations about this so that we can discover where we are in our own awareness journey and what we might do to change and grow.