The second piece of the UCCI mission statement mentions ‘loving one another’. As I write this I am reflecting on the fact that this week we woke up to the news of yet another horrific mass shooting in our country. Clearly as a country we have a long way to go. Right now there are thousands of people across our country and the world mourning the senseless loss of lives that were gunned down while simply trying to enjoy an evening of music. We may never know what was happening within the mind of the shooter, but it I can say with confidence that it was not a rational, healthy thought process. We do not have the ability to make sense of this act, there is no sense to be made. With time, as a society we will hopefully be able to place this horrific event within our timeline and intentionally create some positive outcomes from this horror, but this will take time. At the moment I can not help but wonder if some of us have forgotten what it means to love one another. Is it truly possible to not know how to love and where would that place our society?
Within the UCCI community the concept of ‘loving one another’ is something we try to practice each and every day. I intentionally use the term practice because I will fully acknowledge that we probably do it better some days than others but we make an effort to make it happen. This love is played out in many ways. We strive to ensure everyone’s voice has a place at the table, that doesn’t always mean all of the voices will agree, but they are all welcome at the table. We strive to provide everyone with the personal space they require to feel comfortable. We encourage our guests and staff to physically take care of themselves, obtaining rest, nourishment, and exercise as appropriate to care for their physical beings. And we strive to care for the souls of those in our midst, offering them the space and restoration needed to carry on another day.
Most of this happens with intentionality, it is not by accident. Some of it is quite counter-culture, encouraging our folks to practice things they may not encounter elsewhere. It is tragic that our society has arrived at a place where loving one another is counter-cultural. I give thanks for places like Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center where love is practiced and taught each and every day.
~Rev. Nathan Athorp