WHAT IS UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM
A section of a sermon by former minister Rev. Linda Simmons (2013-2023), “Holy Conversation”
Unitarian Universalism is a life saving faith, not because it has the power to redeem us from sins that are past or that will come in the future, not because it prepares us for a life after we die, not because it keeps us from hell but because it prepares us to live this life and to forgive ourselves and others as we work for a more just world; because it shows us the way to honor our humanity right where we are today, and because it promises that there is no hell that we have not created and therefore cannot work to resolve as human beings.
Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal faith, which means we live by promises-not creeds or beliefs- that bind us through our history and to each other and give us a way to talk to one another when we break our promises too. We promise each other that we will keep listening and talking until we can discern what love is asking of us now.
As Unitarian Universalists we decided a long time ago that when we let bishops and creeds and hierarchies go so we could be left to each other, we would be bound by a covenant that reminded us to listen, to not always put our needs first, to step back, to consider, to temper passion with wisdom- so we would be able to hear the call of love. It is all that we have- no heaven, no hell, no devil, no agreement upon god or not god. All that we have is this promise to show up and listen until we are seen and changed by one another and can hear the call of love.
We are a liberal and free faith and so we all get to choose the shape of this love within and outside of our walls. Our liberal past and present reminds us that our love has to be inclusive, diverse, multiple, liberating, that this love must change us in the loving and must lift us up in the giving of it too.
We can decide the best ways to offer that love to each other and the world. There is no creed that will tell us this. No bishop will pronounce it. No overseer will judge it. It is meeting together freely, through listening, considering, opening our hearts to all voices at the table and those not yet heard or recognized too, that we come to discern what love is asking of us now. This is the beauty and the gift we have been given. This is our right that so many before us risked their lives to protect. This is what it means to be Unitarian Universalist: to stand with each other as a free and liberal people and decide together what it means to love and what shape that love will take now.