Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ripples of a military zone faith

It was great to see this article in the UU World about the Kandahar UU congregation and the work of Rev. Chris Antal.

Chris served my congregation as the consulting minister this past year before he was deployed-- so I know firsthand that he is a minister who can and does make a difference. It's exciting to see the work he is doing in Afghanistan shared and celebrated!

But beyond celebration, I sense both challenge and call that exists for UU's everywhere as we unite our own congregations in supporting this work of sharing our faith in war zones abroad. If the purpose of church is transformation-- our own and the world's, which are interconnected-- then we are called as people of this liberal faith to change, to open to what scares us, to open our doors wider. These include the doors that have shut others out, as well as the ones we have kept locked inside us.

It is becoming more evident how one person's call is not his alone; it is all of ours. There are the responses of UU communities- labors of love and letters to congress;  but there are also the ripples that cannot be measured.

These ripples extend to the challenge we face as UU congregations and individuals-- to examine hard-held positions, and what it really means for human beings to embody peace; to discover how we might tear down the walls of intolerance that have excluded our servicemen and women and veterans; and to explore real ways of relating in accepting, supportive communities that bridge differences and bring us to deeper unity.

And these ripples extend to the challenges we face as a nation-- to examine the hidden prejudices that blind us; to truly protect those Afghan allies who have served us; and to open our borders more widely to all who are seeking safety.

It's inspiring work of UU's in a battle zone that brings me to express this celebration and challenge tonight. May we celebrate in solidarity from all corners of the globe-- be it sanctuary or prison cell, river bank or rocket shelter--as we continue to tear down the walls from within, and share this saving faith.

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