Writing on the morning of the Winter Solstice, I am filled with gratitude for you, Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation folk. Your stubborn good will, your passionate pursuit of your values, your commitment to making our Mission live in the world, and your generosity of spirit, effort, and money, have been bringing this congregational dream come true together for so long. And I am grateful to have been a part of that with you for such a magnificent stretch of time.
I had dreamed about our ministry before we knew each other, and I have been surprised each time we break through and beyond the limits of what I was able to dream so long ago.
Our work together is earnest and funny, occasionally clumsy, but always truthful, and often of magnificent service hidden in a stalwart sort of modesty that I find irresistible.
To the extent that your own dreams about our ministry together have not always, or ever, come true, I apologize. From the outset of our time together I have tried to be openhanded and forthwith to a degree that some will surely have found blunt or even off-putting. But I hope you have some sense of what I am about as a person and as a minister, and that you experience that I am as committed to my own growth as I am to yours.
The work we do together is rarely perfect, but it is almost always worthy.
When challenged by a non-Jew to teach the whole of Torah, the Jewish religious law, while standing on one leg, the rabbinic sage Hillel said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.”
In modern times we often assume that, “The rest is commentary — [and now] go study,” is a dismissal of “The Rest”. But a better reading of this teaching is that the halves of the teaching are inseparable.
In our own case, learning what is hateful to us must be accompanied by learning what should be hateful to us. That would be a most Unitarian Universalist commandment upon our congregational lives.
And so it is that we, and our congregational companions, and our Staff, and your Ministers find ourselves in a never-ending quest to know more about ourselves and the world around us, that we might become ever better practitioners of Unitarian Universalism in service to building the Beloved Community.
I hope we can engage this new season and this new year together, with hope, compassion, forgiveness, humor, and joy. And most particularly with Joy, for it is far too hard to work toward community and justice if we cannot practice being joyful most every day.
And so this note ends as it began: I am grateful to you and I am grateful for the opportunity for us to be, and create, and recreate the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation together each and every day of our lives.
It is good to be ministry with you.
© Reverend Eric Kaminetzky