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Soul Matters @ OUUC

November 2016                                                                                             

In This Issue
  • Sara's Reflections
  • Sharing Our Abundance
  • Recommended Books
  • Words of Wisdom
ouuc chalice

"Take from life its coals, not its ashes.

Fan the flames of love and justice;
join hands and hearts in common endeavor;
and there will be no limit to what we can achieve together."

Laurel S Sheridan


“Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being to receive, to carry, and give back.”—Dag Hammarskjold

Each morning we hold out our chalice of being
To be filled with the graces of life that abound—

Air to breathe, food to eat, companions to love,

Beauty to behold, art to cherish, causes to serve.

They come in ritual procession, these gifts of life.

Whether we deserve them we cannot know or say,

For they are poured out for us.

Our task is to hold steady the chalice of our being.

We carry the chalice with us as we go,

Either meandering aimlessly,

Or with destination in our eye.

We share its abundance if we have any sense,

Reminding others as we remind ourselves

Of the contents of the chalice we don’t deserve.

Water from living streams fills it

If only we hold it out faithfully.

We give back, if we can, something of ourselves—

Some love, some beauty, some grace, some gift.

We give back in gratitude if we can

Something like what is poured into our chalice of being—

For those who abide with us and will follow.

Each morning we hold out the chalice of our being,

To receive, to carry, to give back.

-Richard Gilbert


November's Theme: Abundance

abundance quote 2
photo credit: UU Media Works

Sara's Reflections

Sara Lewis

As I write this, I'm sitting in my home looking out the window at the vegetable garden that still has parsnips, kale, and chard growing, and past the garden to my fruit trees. We aren't even sure how many apple trees we have - more than ten - and they range from young trees that haven't really started bearing fruit to trees that are in their prime and giving us a lot of apples to trees that may be as old as our house (119 years old) and still surprise us with one or two fruits appearing like magic on gnarly old branches.

This is what Abundance means to me. It is the bounty of the earth and rain, and the miracle that I even exist out of the many possibilities and genetic combinations that might have been - that I am alive at all to enjoy these fruits is a miracle.

And in fact, I am part of the abundance. I must prune the trees, plant the garden, harvest the fruits, preserve them, and ultimately share them with others. The abundance can just feel like work if I don't stop to remind myself how lucky I am.

My garden metaphor can be applied to our community as well. We have so much, and we each bring our own gifts (fruit) to the community - whether we are young trees not bearing much yet or trees in our prime or those gnarly branches that still bear sweet fruit. But the careful stewardship and tending of those gifts can just feel like work if we don't stop to appreciate the abundance we enjoy.

The gifts that we bring take many forms, and we also receive gifts in return in this community: everything from beautiful flowers to gaze upon to someone visiting us when we are sick.

And there is, of course, the subject of money. I've heard many times "you can't pay the electricity bill in zucchinis". It's very true that abundance is also about money. Money is how we have symbolically assigned value to things and time and effort, and the careful stewardship and tending of money is in fact a way to honor the things, time, and effort that the money represents.

In our community, we are given many opportunities to practice generosity and to give freely of the gifts we have received. From the children dropping a quarter into their offering box during their religious education classes to a household filling out their pledge card - all these are opportunities to reflect and celebrate our abundance and direct it toward meaningful sharing in our community.

Pause and look around you. Where do you see abundance in your life? In your community? Where does abundance disguise itself in work-a-day clothes? How do you steward your own abundance?

tree of our soulphoto credit: UU Media Works

Sharing Our Abundance

Sharing-Our-Abundance-Logo-Small 2

Stewardship is about sustaining the community that nourishes our spirits. It makes possible our wider work in our community and in our world.

If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.

—Mark Twain

Pledge online here.

Read the The Reverend Perchlik’s message here.

Recommended Book: The Opposite of Spoiled

opposite of spoiledShould kids have an allowance? Should they get "paid" for getting good grades? What should kids pay for themselves?

This is a practical and thoughtful book about raising kids who are comfortable with money and equipped to manage it well.

Recommended Book: Inspired Philanthropy

inspired philanthropy

How do you decide where to give your money?

This "inspired" book will explain the whys and hows of creating a giving plan, and even includes step by step worksheets you can use for the process. This book is useful for singles, couples, or families to work through!

To receive other recommendations, words of wisdom, reflection questions, and more all through the month as we engage with this theme, join the OUUC Soul Matters Facebook Group!

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Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
2315 Division St NW
Olympia, Washington 98502

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