Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship  on  life's  sacred  journey

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. – Buddha

A Message From Our Minister

October. Leaves falling. The beauty of letting go.

What do you need to let go of to have more joy? What is holding you back from wellbeing? In your life? In our spiritual community? What old hurt or resentment might you consider loosening your grip on? What freedom might you claim?

Our worship, religious exploration program, and Soul Matters theme for this month is renewal. Forgiveness is one path to renewal. It can free our hearts, strengthen connection, offer us a new beginning.

The Jewish tradition, one of the sources of our Unitarian Universalist faith, understands this well with its annual Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. As part of the rituals around the welcoming of a new spiritual year, Yom Kippur encourages folks to look back over the past year and reflect on their actions. Were there places we took a wrong turn? Spoke harshly? Acted in ways that did not reflect our best selves or embody right relationship?

Everyone has moments when we make choices we regret and can later see were not in harmony with the ideals we wish to live. Forgiveness makes it possible for us to acknowledge those times, with humility, to express our remorse, and to determine to make different choices in the future. Forgiveness makes it possible to heal from hurt, resentment, and bitterness. It offers a way to embrace a new beginning and renewal.

There’s a wonderful responsive reading in our hymnal, #637, written by UU minister Rob Eller-Isaacs, called “A Litany of Atonement.” The refrain is “We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.”

Perhaps October is a good month to embrace the exploration of forgiveness. It could be we may find we can forgive ourselves and each other – friends, family, other congregation members, neighbors, coworkers. And maybe we will find in doing so that we begin again, in love, with all the richness and promise that holds.

Wishing you peace and joy, Terry