Clearly, the giving spirit is underway at UUCPA. Our annual Undie Sunday moved successfully online. Thanks to your making over $1700 in donations, we were able to give 20 sleeping bags and a couple of large boxes of underwear, socks, hats, and other essential items to the folks being helped at the Opportunity Center, as well as $835 in gift cards. How wonderful to be able to make a real difference in each other’s lives.
The Board also just voted to open our parking lot to the Safe Parking program–several area folks whose only housing options are their vehicles will make our parking lot their nighttime home beginning next month! UUCPA member Christopher Kan put lots of work into talking to various stakeholders around the congregation to address all questions and concerns ahead of time, so that by the time he made his presentation to the Board this month, all logistical bumps had been smoothed out and it was an easy “YES!” But it’s not just Chris’s work or the program’s or the Board’s that made the YES possible; it’s the congregation’s decades of dedication to housing justice and dignity for those left unhoused by our still-unjust system. As one of my favorite sayings goes, “If the people lead, the leaders will follow,” and the people of UUCPA have led the way on this issue for so long that our leaders can confidently move forward with new opportunities like this.
For my part, I’ve been pondering unconditional love. Ever since Alex Kapitan spoke to us about radical welcome one Sunday this fall, I’ve known that my Christmas Eve homily would be about how Jesus taught us to love others unconditionally and without regard to their merit: simply because they are our neighbors. But how to do that is always the difficult question. What does it even mean to love not only those people we don’t particularly like, but those whom we do not trust, who are deeply unkind and hate-filled themselves, and even have harmed us and ours?
I’m counting on our solstice ritual Monday evening to help me let go of the things that get between me and that love. I hope I’ll see you there, and also at the Christmas Eve service this Thursday evening. As I said in last week’s Sunday service, traditions are more important than ever right now, and I’m so glad we are carrying on these annual traditions. We will be observing Christmas Eve in our accustomed way, with lots of carols and other music, Dan’s story of the candles, readings about the birth of Jesus, and the magic of seeing each other’s faces by candlelight. Please have a candle at the ready for both of these services! See you then!