Rev. Morales writes:
What moves me--what I am called to do is to work with our children and youth and helping them see the gifts they have right there in their own hearts. But I disagree with our Rev. Morales. I think that hanging out is a spiritual practice. What if we only had Service Sundays--the weeks like this past December 13th that saw tables of children and youth and adults creating gifts for folks who live in assisted living in our town--cutting greens and filling cloth bags for lovely sachets, wrapping lovely scented soaps and working hard to push hundreds of cloves into oranges to make clove oranges?
If we only had Service Sundays, what would we learn? That service is vital? That we can work hard together and live our belief that "service is our prayer?" that good works feel good to do? Yes, yes, yes. All true. But when would we learn about Jan Hus? How about Michael Servetus? Margret Fuller? Susan B. Anthony? Thoreau? Tim Berners-Lee? About where we come from? When would we discuss the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha and Confuscious? When would our children practice talking about faith? Between cutting greens? Maybe, but sometimes we need to be still and quiet or have a rocking discussion that might look like an argument from the outside.
And if we only had Service Sundays, when would we find time to relax and open up a little and really come to know each other? This past Sunday was a small attendance Sunday. It always is, it's the week after Christmas after all. We could have done a service project with the kids, or taken on a lesson or a worship. But I've learned from the years of doing this good work of ministry for children, youth and families that some of the very best Sundays are the ones that are very simple. This week we pulled out a few games; Chess, Mancala, Connect Four and Banana Split. We rolled out a rug, put on some good music (Jim Scott, a good old UU) and we played games. We hung out. It was deeply spiritual. I got to hear about the recent transition to homeschooling from one boy, about a little girl missing a family friend who is out of the country. I got to sit with a lap full of a boy I've known since before his little sister was even born, and now she can say three word sentences. We chatted, we laughed. We were quiet. We all had a wonderful time. We all went home smiling.
I think what Rev. Morales is missing is that there has to be a balance--we need more than just "education" and we need more than just "service", we need "hanging out" time together. Some of the best moments happen in the spaces in between. This is where we come together to synthesize the service we've done. This is where we come together to understand what it means to be a community. This is where we understand what it means to be Unitarian Universalists. We need all of these things in ministry for adults as well as ministry for children, youth and families.