Our Theme for October is Courage

Rev. Laura Smidzik

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear” - Ambrose Redmoon

Kathy Burek and I recently attended the opening service and celebration for the UU Church of Minnetonka. They used the same architect that designed White Bear UU Church’s sanctuary for their new building. A wall of windows overlook the woods and there is a long patio that runs along the side of the building. It is a beautiful place and reflects over a decade of hope as they waited for the land they purchased to be cleared for construction by the city. Their mission statement is posted in the foyer: "In a spirit of wonder and with courageous love, we connect, grow, and act." The words that stood out to me were “courageous love.”

This month’s theme is courage. UU minister, Rev. Erika Hewitt, writes about courage in a reading titled, “Bold and Courageous Together” on the UUA’s Worship Web.

The word courage comes from the Latin cor, which means heart. According to poet Mark Nepo, the original use of the word courage meant to stand by one’s core: a “striking concept that reinforces the belief found in almost all traditions that living from the Center is what enables us to face whatever life has to offer.”

What does courageous love look like at MSUS and our call to be in the wider world? What is at our congregational core? What is more important to us than fear? These questions are important to consider within one’s own heart, how we interact with each other when we gather at the church, and what we want to be beyond the confines of our own walls. They are also questions that we need to visit over and over again as a congregation and personally.

Another section of Rev. Hewitt’s reading says:

With full hearts,
we affirm our relationships with one another;
we recognize our agency and our connective power;
and we accept our responsibility to be bold and courageous.

This month, I urge you to consider how being a UU informs your core. Think of how courage does and does not show up for you at church. Do you avoid hard conversations or lean into them? Are you able to keep your heart full even when you greatly disagree with someone or something happens that is not to your liking? When have you been courageous with another congregant/s? What did you learn from that experience?

My, we are imperfect people and we frequently fall short in our relations and intentions. It takes courage to practice our faith and commit to life-giving connections with one another. May we continue to find the space in our heart to show up with courageous and bold love for ourselves, each other, and all who live beyond the MSUS community.

Rev. Laura