Columbus III

     We all  know the one about the pilot who radioed:  “I have good news and bad news.   The good news is we’re making excellent time.  The bad news is we’re lost.”

     Now we are not totally lost, but we need a lot more involvement and a lot more study of this program and you, my friends, are the ones who are going to have to insist on it, and you are going to have to do that by talking to your District Trustees about costs and organization rationale, asking your District Boards what the financial impact on your District will be, and demanding alternate approaches from among which to choose.  Field Services really needs your attention and concern.

     Those who work in finance ae used to dealing with the seemingly finite.  But we suffered two major losses this year, losses which won’t show up in our financial statements.   Ted MacRae, chair of the Finance Committee, died last October.  As if we had no limit on our ability to come to grips with coincident tragedy, Mary Hart, Ted’s successor as Committee chair, died this past April.

     They were each such different people in temperament, in convictions, and in leadership style, that it may not seem to do either justice to speak of both in the same breadth.  Yet, they were alike in the intensity of their devotion to this institution, and in their ability to work for the common good with those with whom they did not always agree.  I cannot think they are no longer with us.

     These words from Victor Hugo’s “Toilers of the Sea:”

“These are times when the unknown reveals itself to the spirit of man in visions...those that depart still remain near us--they are in a world of light but they, as tender witnesses, hover about our world of darkness.  Though invisible to some they are not absent.  Sweet is their presence, holy is their converse with us.”

     Let us join in a moment of consideration and aspiration.  We have the leadership of our Denomination in this room.  If we hold out our hand, we have the future in it.  If we think of the connection of hand to mind to heart, we have the potential to shape that future.  The potential, I say, only the potential.  We must give life to that potential: we have to make our hands move.

     Good intentions will not do it, good thoughts will not do it, good talk will not do it.  The heart has to feel it.  The mind has to want it.  The hand has to do it.

     One week ago last Sunday, I attended the concluding service in our Church year in my own congregation, The Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut.  We have been privileged to have had an award winning minister serve us in an interim year.  I say award winning, because on Thursday, the UUA is going to honor him with the Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism.

     It’s a matter of public record that Duncan Howlett has 78 years on the odometer.  He could reasonably be expected to be looking loyally to the past rather than to the future.  The theme of that service, the title of his sermon:  “The Way Leads On.”

     Duncan Howlett knows about uncertainty--he does not fear change.  He knows that our Church in Westport and our Association have the potential for the way which leads on -- you’ll get a sense of that on Thursday.

     Let me share with you in closing, the final verse of the hymn with which we closed that service.  The words by Sam Wright, to the music of Sibelius’ Finlandia.

          We would be one
          In building for tomorrow
          A nobler world
          Than we have known today,
          We would be one
          In searching for that meaning
          That binds our hearts
          And points us on our way.
          As one we pledge
          Ourselves to greater service
          To build with love
          A world which shall be free.

No comments:

Post a Comment