Soul Recharge is our Theme-Based Ministry for 2013-14. What does it mean? The “soul” in Soul Recharge is the core of our humanity -- the part of us that is deeply good, full of hope, and powerfully connected with the interdependent web of all living things. To paraphrase one of our great Unitarian ministers, A. Powell Davies, life is all about growing our souls – we are called to deepen within and to move out into the wider world with energy and passion. “Recharge” is our mission and our method this year -- filling our individual and communal cups, being inspired and full of energy, being grounded in who we are and what we value most. We explore in depth a different theme each month through worship, music, stories, written and web resources, and programs for children, youth, and adults.
Restoration returns something to its former glory or wholeness. We might choose to restore a piece of furniture to make it beautiful and functional, or strive for a restoration of spirit and worth after illness or personal challenges. As Unitarian Universalists, we don’t simply bemoan the brokenness in our world, but make it our mission to repair and heal it, as best we can.
Reverence is a deep respect – it’s the kind of regard that turns respect from an ethic into a religious impulse. We might have this reverence for the cycles of life and death, for the interdependent web nature shows us, for the power of love and transformation, for our ancestors, for God, for the power of community – perhaps even for the divine in one another.
Our inner self or “inner teacher” may be recharged through reflection, meditation, and contemplation. In the quiet of a retreat, we have the space to think deeply on what we value most. Reflection is also a mirror – when we “see our faces in each other’s eyes” or see ourself reflected in their life, we deepen our relationship with them as well as our self-understanding. Knowing ourselves deeply, we can reflect the light of who we truly are out into our communities and into the world.
A core aspect of Soul Recharge is to celebrate the things that bring us joy. There is delight and pleasure as we acknowledge events, persons, and possessions which lift our spirits and inform our passions. In community we rejoice with music, with spectacle, and silence; together we revel in the majesty of winter and its many blessings – the beauty of trees full of snow, the joy of being with family and friends for holidays, the turning of the season and the year.
Every artist knows that the lens we have on life shapes what we see, and shapes our possibilities. Think of a photographer’s lenses -- regular, macro, fish-eye, telephoto – each brings a different vision. Move the frame a little to the left or right and a mundane image becomes spectacular. Look up, and a whole new world is available; focus down and another universe swims into view. There’s something profoundly spiritual about reframing; it’s the soul-work of risking a different view, of choosing a less-traveled path.
When we recommit we affirm that we will continue to direct our energy toward our deepest convictions. Recommitting means examining why we made a commitment in the first place, resisting the temptation to give up or give in, and reawakening the vigor and excitement of our promises. This month we recommit ourselves to the work of equality, the gift of religious community, and the method of love.
We all run down – what fills us up? What do you need to revitalize your soul? What gives you the strength to do what needs to be done? What might replenish the soul of our church? This month we take a celebratory look at ways to fill our personal and communal cups.
Even in the darkest night, with seeming defeat and failure, we trust deep in our souls that the sun will rise, bringing light and life again. Out of the “dark night of the soul” comes the spark of hope that will regenerate our sense of mission and purpose and give us energy to begin anew. Spring is a good time to reflect on nature's sacred cycle of birth-death-rebirth, and the Easter story is also a metaphor for this cycle. What other rebirths await us?
When we strike a chord it sets off a chain reaction of sound waves and energy. The waves excite the air through which they move and they travel far and wide, lasting longer than the audible sound itself. Reverberation transforms the space around everything and everyone. As Unitarian Universalists, we long for our message of hope, love, and purpose to reverberate out into the world, shaping peace justice, and beauty – sending back to us a resounding “Yes!” and the vision of all things resonating in harmony.
Are you able to let go, release, and take a break from work and worry? Relaxing is a spiritual practice that helps fill our souls. It’s not about going limp, but instead, becoming fully present! Taking time for ourselves, enjoying life and recreational pursuits, these things lighten our spirits and return us to our work with renewed energy and new perspective.