Rev. Craig Rubano
On some questions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it polite?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but we must do it because Conscience tells us it is right. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The concept of “beloved community” was coined by late nineteenth-century philosopher Josiah Royce as an ideal ensemble of those fully dedicated to loyalty, truth, and reality. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King popularized the term as a goal for those who understand collective liberation to be a project that requires all people to be bound up in one another’s freedom with integrity. Beloved community is a project of striving toward wholeness, undeterred by questions of safety, politesse, popularity, and rooted in conscience, oriented toward what is ultimately right. To do so requires that each of us live into their own authenticity in a bold and forthright manner. The trouble is that systemic pressures from long legacies of oppression can preclude us even from owning ourselves fully, much less being able to show up as our whole selves in community.
2020 is going to be a very, very long year, with the country’s democratic process itself straining under the weight of the same kinds of systemic pressures that affect us all personally. Let us begin right now, as we start up the new year, with a vow to explore ways we can live into and exhibit our integrity— personally and collectively. UUCMC, on its best days, exists as a place for us to experiment with coming into our own fullness, of approaching that elusive beloved community. My prayer for myself and for all of us is that we can love one another into wholeness. It has been my consistent challenge and pleasure to be able to offer more and more of my personal truth from the pulpit and among you, my congregational community. I thank you for the gift of your selves, and I look forward to the months ahead.
On MLK Weekend, we’ll have two opportunities to join with one another to do some practical good. First, on Sunday, January 19th, our worship service will lead into a UUCMC Day of Service. After a simple lunch provided by Community Life, there will be tasks planned for everyone to beautify, fortify, and ready our meetinghouse for the year ahead. Next, on Monday, January 20th, we will join forces with Bayshore area congregations at Middletown Reformed Church to prepare 10,000 meal packages and “Rise Against Hunger.” It will be wonderful to put our efforts together to create change and community both inside and outside the walls of our congregation. A very prodigious and expansive new year to us all!