I don’t know who needs to hear this this week, but your life is precious…more precious than any stock holdings…more precious than anyone’s retirement account…more precious than the economy itself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made according to the Psalms. That is what the Christian faith of my childhood taught me.
Today there’s an old pseudo-religion masquerading as “Christianity” which tells us that the almighty dollar is more important than life itself. But that is a lie. Of course, capitalism, has often required human sacrifice, including…
Indigenous peoples, on this continent and abroad
Enslaved peoples from Africa
Coal miners, factory workers, child laborers
Impoverished and indebted laborers
And even the earth itself, upon which all human life depends for survival
But the kind of capitalism that has taken root in this country is the worship of mammon, money, and material wealth. It is not the worship of God, the Great Creator, the Great Spirit, the Spirit of Life or the Spirit of Love.
Our religious tradition, Unitarian Universalism, is not one that requires human sacrifice. Unitarian Universalism at its best teaches us that you are NOT a commodity. You are NOT disposable. You are NOT refuse. You are precious. Your bodies are precious. No matter your age, your race, your gender, your ability, your ethnicity, your religious beliefs, your net worth, or your political party. Your gifts are precious. Your creativity is precious.
I mention this because earlier this week we heard from a few politicians and pundits that our senior citizens ought to be willing to sacrifice themselves for their grandkids and for the economy. And because this week we learned that, according to the disaster preparedness plans in certain states, people with intellectual disabilities may be denied lifesaving care. And because I have friends with physical disabilities and friends who are transgender who are living right now with an added level of fear, worried that if they contract the COVID-19 virus, they may not receive equal access to the healthcare they require.
Universalism says that God is bigger and better and more loving and more merciful than all that. And, whether you believe in a god or not, Universalism says we are all in this together.
When John Murray, the father of American Universalism, arrived on these shores from England in 1770, he arrived on a ship called the “Hand-in-Hand.” And as Unitarian Universalists, that’s how we’re going to move through this mess, metaphorically if not literally. That’s how we’re going to weather this storm. Hand in hand.
I also mention all of this because First Parish is an official Welcoming Congregation, which means that its members have long striven to create a community that supports and affirms the radical and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. And I mention it because the International Trans Day of Visibility is coming up on Tuesday March 31st. The International Trans Day of Visibility was founded in 2009 to acknowledge and celebrate members of the trans community. As a reminder, “Trans” refers to people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth.
Given all of that, I’m so grateful for the story that was shared this morning as part of our worship service, “A Princess of Great Daring” by Tobi Hill-Meyer. In that story, Jamie is so lucky to have such excellent friends. They let Jamie define her own role, her own gender identity, and her own gender expression. They let her be “a princess of great daring” who can climb high, run fast, and keep up. They support her fully as a princess who can be simultaneously beautiful, smart and strong. Then they ask her how they can help, as she prepares to tell everyone at school that she is a girl.
Jamie’s best friends, Liam, Jackson and Madison are model allies. They are willing to deploy their own gifts – their strength, cleverness and cheerfulness – in the service of their friend. They are curious, asking her what she needs and listening to her answers. They are compassionate, caring and offering her their support. They are courageous, willing to engage and even befriend whatever metaphorical dragons they might encounter.
Because the work of welcoming our LGBTQ selves, friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers is never finished…
And because we are living in a time when too many political leaders are engaged in what Henry Giroux calls “the politics of disposability,” otherwise known simply as cruelty…
Because of all of that, we too, as Unitarian Universalists, are called to be curious, compassionate and courageous allies…
Even now, when we are physically distant from one another, I invite you to remember not only your connections, but also your commitments…
To the inherent worth and dignity of every person…
To justice…to equity…and to compassion…for all
Until we meet again face to face…so may it be.
©2020 Rev. Wendy L. Bell