One of my favorite hymns in our UU tradition is #128 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal (affectionately known as ‘the gray hymnal’). This song, “For All That Is Our Life” encourages a philosophy that I subscribe to as best I can: be grateful for ‘all that is your life.’
For all that is our life, we sing our thanks and praise For all life is a gift, that we are called to use To build the common good, and make our own days glad.
What I like best about this song is the connection it makes between our own “gladness” and the “common good.” I truly believe that the place where our greatest joy meets service to the world, that’s the place where true transformation of self and society abides.
Too often, it’s easy to believe that we must make a choice between our own needs, and the needs of others. From a ‘piece of the pie’ mentality, we can think that whatever I give to others necessarily depletes what’s left for me. But I don’t really believe that to be true. I believe that generosity generates abundance, and that sharing wisely paves the way for a deeper sense of community resources. As sages of many traditions and many ages have taught, one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is a spirit of generosity and abundance. When we believe that we have enough to share, that we are enough, in our most authentic and real selves, then we bring to our community incredible gifts that only we have to offer.
As we enter into our time of ‘canvassing’—that’s asking each of us in the Westside community to consider what financial gifts we might be able to offer in the coming fiscal year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020), we have the chance to be both authentic and generous. As you consider whether or not to pledge, and how much you might be willing and able to share, remember this:
• Your gifts of money are simply outward expressions of your gifts of spirit, and it is the spirit that truly helps us to thrive as individuals and as a community • Every gift counts, no matter the size • Authentic awareness of your capacity to share is important: neither overcommitment nor holding back serve you or the community well • Feeling grateful is a gift we give ourselves, and that we can receive as much as we choose, when we are invited to participate in community.
I find that the more I appreciate this community, the more able I feel to share in so many ways: with my time, my energy, my emotional commitment, and my financial commitment. I hope that you are growing in your connection and commitment to Westside, and that it is bringing you hope, joy and peace.
Happy Spring, Rev. Carol