We are mourning, enraged, and pondering our next steps in the wake of the travesties of justice committed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The rolling back of fifty years of human rights progress with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the attack on the separation of church and state, and the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency’s capacity to address the existential threat of climate change, have ushered in a new era of religious fundamentalism and extreme ideologies imposing themselves upon our lives and those of our neighbors.
Our liberal religious movement has championed reproductive freedom, fought for the separation of church and state, and professed a deep commitment to the wellbeing of the planet for generations. Such horrific decisions are an affront to our liberal values; they infringe upon our religious freedom and undermine our democracy. We must resist these injustices and provide care and support for those most harmed by these decisions. All are invited to heart and brainstorm in the coming weeks and months how we might shift our spiritual priorities, leverage our liberal religious movement’s resources, and collectively strategize with our many partners. We must protect and serve the most vulnerable while defending our cherished religious values of reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, consent, religious liberty, democratic process, and justice for all.
Our spiritual theme for contemplation this month is “Quest.” Throughout the church year, we reflect upon engaging religious themes in some of our group activities, publications, and worship services to build community and provide opportunities for spiritual deepening. The Cambridge Dictionary defines “quest” as “a long search for something that is difficult to find, or an attempt to achieve something difficult.” In light of the recent decisions of the Supreme Court, we are now embarking on a new communal quest for justice and to serve those in harm’s way. In many ways, it is a continuation of our journey towards wholeness in a society maligned by white supremacy, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, colonialism, religious imperialism, and many other deadly afflictions.
The spiritual quest is often taken in the work of repairing the world and in our journeys into the depths of our very beings. We move inward to restore, replenish, reflect, and connect with the spirit of life, and we move outward carrying forth the transformation from within. Society’s brokenness can wear us down as is evidenced by the high degree of burnout in helping professions and communities of activism. It is therefore important that we balance our profound commitments to service and justice-making with respite, spiritual practice, art, play, appreciation of beauty, and other activities that replenish and restore our spirits.
As we enter our summer weeks of rejuvenation, all are encouraged to identify and embrace what will sustain them in the months and years before us. Our worship leaders, Board of Directors, and other church groups will be taking time to cultivate spaciousness and renewal over the next few weeks so that we begin our new church year rested and ready for the next length in this spiritual quest. If you are in need of confidential spiritual support over the summer or would like to share news with the congregation, please contact our Pastoral Care Team Co-Chairs.
We have much to celebrate, to mourn, and to achieve in the new church year, so let’s seize the warmth, sunshine, and lifegiving energies of summertime and prepare ourselves for the challenges and opportunities we will continue to face together.
With hope, faith, and love,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae