Think of the universe as an eternal creative unfolding. Trees blossom. Cells replicate. Rivers forge new tributaries. The world pulses with productive energy, and everything that exists on this planet is driven by that energy. Every manifestation of this unfolding is doing its own work on behalf of the universe, each in its own way, true to its own creative impulse.
Our congregation is alive! Our sanctuary is buzzing with heart and spirit and melody. Our campus is once again filled with people, activities, and fellowship. Old friends are returning. New relationships are being forged. Our children’s and youth religious education program is flourishing. We completed one of the most successful stewardship campaigns in the history of our church. With your generosity of spirit, time, talent, resources, and creativity, we are truly emerging into our abundance! We are making progress on many of our developmental goals. In the twenty five years I’ve been a member, steward, and leader in Unitarian Universalist communities, I’ve never experienced a congregation that’s gone through so much in such a short span of time and then emerged with so much ingenuity, vibrancy, and life! In our world, which is marked by so many seemingly insurmountable challenges, this community is truly a testament to the resiliency, beauty, and perseverance of the human spirit. We are being reborn as the beloved community just as the “trees blossom,” “rivers forge new tributaries,” and each thing in the universe is “true to its own creative impulse.”
We are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month along with the arrival of the pagan holiday of Beltane, Mother’s Day, the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, and Christian holiday of Pentecost. Our annual celebration of Flower Communion returns as well now that we are back in our sanctuary and able to give and receive springtime flowers–so don’t forget to bring a special flower or two with you to church to give away on Sunday, May 14th. We also have our first opportunity to gather with our Jewish neighbors in a special celebration of Shavuot on Friday, May 26th from 6:00-8:00pm. We are invited to join the Santa Monica Synagogue–two blocks from our church (18th and Broadway) for their annual Shabbat and Shavuot Celebration at their religious home, and we will then transition to our campus for a shared vegetarian meal, interfaith reflection, and conversation. We ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for this special occasion and help us further build the beloved community in Santa Monica!
Our monthly theme for spiritual reflection this month is the Path of Creativity. Join us as we get in touch with our creative spirits and explore what it means to survey the expanse of our imaginations and then create something new. I know this is one of my favorite spiritual themes and I am excited to explore it through word and music in our Sunday services this month. We are certainly awash in the creativity of our community right now as we rebuild and seize the potential of this time to transform ourselves and our world.
Our Soul Matters questions for spiritual reflection this month include:
● Has creativity ever healed or saved you?
● Has creativity ever gotten you in trouble?
● Were you a child that colored in the lines or outside of them? Does that childhood self still have a leading role in your life?
● Aren’t you hungry to color outside the lines? Hasn’t your life stayed safely “inside the lines” long enough?
● Ralph Waldo Emerson said two things prevent most of us from creative living: fear of public opinion and undue reverence for one’s own consistency. Might either of those be true of you?
● If your life was a song or movie, which song or movie would you be?
● If you were told you could magically recreate one aspect of your life, what part would you pick?
● Could that restless or sour feeling in your gut be your unused creativity?
● Which artistic metaphor best describes what life feels like to you right now? A blank canvas? A 1000-piece puzzle? A detective novel? A garden? A writer’s block? A work in progress? Something else?
You matter to us! We want to hear from you. If you have joys or sorrows in your life that you would like us to share on a Sunday morning, please reach out. If you are discerning something important in your life, struggling with hardship, or are in need of spiritual companionship, we have a dedicated team of Pastoral Associates who can provide a listening ear and loving heart in a space bounded by confidentiality and care. To request support, please email us at email@example.com.
Yours in love and ministry,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae