a sermon for the First Unitarian Church, Louisville, Kentucky …
From pure Joy springs all creation; by Joy it is sustained, towards joy it proceeds, and to Joy it returns.Upanishads – but probably not the Mundaka after all
I feel I need to include some words of introduction about this sermon, so that people can appreciate the full irony of this situation – my preaching this sermon, here, this morning.
Some people here know that I myself am Presbyterian – recently ordained in the PC(USA) – so most Sundays I’m in one or another Presbyterian pulpit, where I can usually assume an audience of Presbyterians, and normally work with a Biblical text. Now sometimes, my spouse … who is frankly Unitarian Universalist, very graciously listens to my Presbyterian sermons in process. Which has been extremely helpful over the years.
This sermon started out as one of those. One she really liked, and remembered when First U needed some people to fill in on the Sunday mornings while the church was working on obtaining a transitional pastor. So she generously volunteered me to preach it – “you could use that one on Woman Wisdom” – and I remembered it had something to do with creation, too, and I said “yeah, sure, but it’ll fit better in May, when the theme is ‘the path of creativity’” …
So this month I went to find it on my computer … and realized that this sermon had originally been prepared for a Presbyterian church, for Trinity Sunday … an annual reflection on the distinctive doctrine of the Trinity … a doctrine whose greatest success, arguably, is to remind the faithful that they don’t understand God.*
But which didn’t seem particularly apt for the Unitarians! So, there’s been some revision … although, I didn’t take out all the references to the Trinity, or even to John Calvin, …
The revised sermon, along with the service, is online here.
Rg Veda 10:129, trans. Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty
A fantastic visual and verbal meditation on the Ascension – also appropriate for the 7th Sunday after Easter
*I think this is really true.
Our homiletics professor in seminary told us that, after we’d preached a bunch of sermons, we’d be able to go back through them and identify 5-7 major themes that we keep coming back to, over and over again. I’ve realized that one of mine is that we do not know everything there is to know about God.
Or, anything, for that matter. Evidently, it annoys me when people act like know-it-alls. Especially ultimate judgment-al ones. [Note to self …]
I think if we needed to understand everything about God before we could trust grace and have faith, we would be in serious trouble. And thank God, we don’t.
Image: “Open book 1,” by Alina Daniker alinadaniker, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons