Last week I was part of a lay led service at our Unitarian Church. This past year, the church has been delving a little deeper into all 7 UU principles, and this service was the culmination of all that reflecting and meditating. Seven of us from the congregation were chosen to reflect on one of the principles each. I was given the sixth UU principle, and the following is what I said to the congregation.
6th UU Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
A few years ago, I gave a sermon in which I said I believe God is a verb, an action; not simply a noun or a thing. So it’s funny to me that I get one of the few principles without a verb in it.
The key word of the sixth principle isn’t “peace,” or “liberty” or “justice”; it’s not even “community.” The key word is “goal.” This isn’t an action, but a benchmark, something to aim for. It’s a lofty aim for sure, yet any vision worth persuing needs to be big and inspirational. Ultimate ends and envisioning those goals are not meant to be pragmatic. They are, in some ways, seemingly unattainable tothose with no imagination; possibly unattainable to anyone other than the dreamer themselves. However between the distance from our starting point to that ultimate place lie actions and efforts—some everyday, some longer-term—that bring us closer to that place putting that goal within reach. These efforts go by many names—right action, loving kindness, the golden rule, social justice work, and so on. But they have something in common: they look outward at our present time and try to bridge the gap between where we are and where we need to be. It is these actions where the vision to see a world community o peace, liberty, and justice, and the will and courage to move the community toward that goal meet.
It’s also within these actions that the necessary steps are mapped out. If we as a community—first locally, then globally—are to get to this seemingly unattainable place, we all have to do our parts. Each of us can shape our society by working on our own small part of it—maintaining a food pantry, planting a communal garden, putting up a banner. Fron there we connect outward with other like minded people to help shape a larger area—signing petitions or letters, marching for our democratic rights and the rigths of others, protesting against war. The more we reach people who share our vision and want that achievement, the larger we make our community, and with that growth and consistency of our actions we make the goal of a world of peace, liberty, and justice a reality for us all.