“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Antoine de Saint-Exupery teaches us that “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Yearn for the sea. That’s what this Special Place is for: to cultivate our yearning. To so transform our character that we must needs transform the world. Church communities are not sanctuaries—that would be a monastery. Let’s not confuse the two. Our community is not some fortress where religious liberals gather in like-minded solidarity to protect themselves from a conservative wilderness.
We are no fortress here, but a harbor where you are refitted and restocked to go back out onto the high seas of life. That’s what boats are made for. Yes, it’s safer for boats to remain in the harbor. But that’s not what boats are for. Our UUSantaFe harbor is full of community and friendships. And that’s a good thing. But your life wasn’t made for some placid existence here, but to move over the water. Here, we must learn to yearn for the sea. Our challenge is to answer the vital question of “What is this community called to do?” “Do” is an action verb. The question is not what are we called to be, but to do. And that’s the hard work of this community. To do.
In no mission statement have I read “we are here to make one another feel good about ourselves,” or “exist to make like-minded friends.” We are here for something more, a sacred purpose: to change ourselves and then the world. Transformation not sanctuary. Action not respite. Yearning not complacency. It matters not if yours is the God of the Revealed Word, the Consciousness of the Divine Light, the Integration of All Things, or even the Blank God of the atheist. What matters is that you stand in the presence of your God, yearn for the sea, and move over the waters.
See you in church.
Lifespan Religious Educator