I’ve been working on an intergenerational service for Earth Day, weaving together songs and readings about deep connection, responsibility, and sharing. As we pause to consider our connection to the Earth and to the many and varied life forms supported by this lovely blue-green, swirly space marble, I’m reminded of a chant I learned from a Seneca Indian Grandmother:
Earth my body / Water my blood / Air my breath / and Fire my spirit
We are made in the image of Earth. In the Hebrew creation story humans are created out of mud and divine breath. We are one with the world, and we are one with the Divine, however we name that. When we are ‘one’ with something, we are connected. We look out for others in that same family.
I am a minister, daughter, friend, wife, and mother. I look out for everyone that I am connected to. When my grandfather was no longer able to live alone, my little family, my husband Les and our daughter Ashera, welcomed him into our home. It wasn’t always daisies and lollipops having him live with us, but it was ours to do. We opened the circle of inclusion wide enough to bring him in and make him part of our circle. And our circle expanded with each story he told of growing up in our hometown – growing up long before there were cars or even decent roads. Stories of families – of connectedness.
That’s actually not a bad metaphor for what we do as Unitarian Universalists – although I hesitate to name us as a family, since some families are just plain weird. But we do open the circle of inclusion to bring in others – and our circle is expanded with each story of loss, heartache, joyful abundance, discovery, desperation – stories that encompass the scope of human experience. And those stories become our stories as we connect and find our place in the family of things. “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” (Mary Oliver)
May we find our place and make room for others in the family of things.