I often wake up with songs running like a current in my ears, and this morning it was “Quando, Quando, Quando,”an Englebert Humperdink song resurrected by my teens and played during car rides. I think of Quando (“when”) a lot, especially when my windshield wipers are whappng. When will the sun come back out? Is this atmospheric river part of climate change? When will somebody do something about that? When will world problems be solved? Thinking about carbon emissions, should I even be driving this car? I used to be fascinated by weather’s various manifestations, but now I fear that it is spinning out of control.
My solitary pondering, sometimes overwhelming, is balanced with the gathering celebrations of fall, when our Unitarian Universalist (UU) fellowship comes back together. In an ironic nod to Fall rain, our first gathering of the fellowship year revolves around water.
Many Unitarian Universalist congregations have an annual tradition of celebrating a Water Ceremony/Communion early in September as a ritual of welcoming members of their congregation to a new church year. Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them, perhaps from a recent trip they took. All of the samples are poured into a common bowl to signify coming together again.
Though these services vary greatly from congregation to congregation, they provide an opportunity for UU congregations to express their commitment to our Sixth Principle: We Covenant to Affirm and Promote the Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty and Justice for All. They also remind us of our principle to “promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence.”
One of our kind UU volunteer leaders brought these inspiring words to our recent Water Communion:
“The Spirit of Water”
We light this chalice as a symbol of reunion.
We reunite in this sanctuary to share the flow of our hearts with one another.
We gather together in ritual
to celebrate our fountains of joy
to hold each other through storms of grief
to guide one another through rapids of transformation
to rest together on ponds of stillness.
Together, we honor the spirit of water, its many forms, and its life-giving essence.
Water is cresting in the seas and the streets, and in some places, not pouring at all. While out of balance globally, water also connects us symbolically and spiritually. It is a powerful force.
In her book “Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice,” Brene’ Brown defines spirituality as “recognizing and celebrating that we are inextricably connected to one another by a power greater than all of us and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and belonging.”
When I gather with others, I merge into a stream of possibility and right action. I move from asking “when” will somebody do something to “what” is the next right step? Together, we create a force more powerful than one person or one belief system. As UUA president the Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray reminds us. “For we are not alone – and we make each other strong.” May we all work together to do the right thing.
• Jean Findley os a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship member. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.