The DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church exists as a beacon of liberal religious thought and practice. Amid the challenges and changes of a chaotic world, we aspire to proclaim and embody the possibilities of meaning in human life, of freedom in human thought, and of peace and justice in human community.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sunday Service: Not Just I, Community is We - September 21st, 2014

Not just I, Community is We
Reverend Tom Capo

A long long time ago
I can still remember how the music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe the’d be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
Great works of art, music included, ask the viewer or listener to bring a little of themselves into the experience.  Thus, the meaning of art or music is constantly shifting little, nuanced by whatever the viewer’s or listen’s life, wherever they are on their journey.  Don McLean, the writer and composer of “American Pie” never really talked about what he was trying to say when he wrote the song.  Many other people have attributed meaning to it.  Some say that McLean was talking about the turbulent 60’s, some that McLean was expressing regret over the death of the civil rights movement, some that McLean was bemoaning the death of danceable rock and roll music.  Some have written that McLean was grieving for what he perceived as the death of religion and other traditional ideas from his childhood.   Others have found what they believe to be references to rock musicians Buddy Holly,Janis Joplin, and the Beatles, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and politicians President Jack Kennedy, and Senator Bobby Kennedy.  And we hear names in the song, including communist and socialist revolutionaries Vladimir Lenin, and Karl Marx, in addition to the Catholic Trinity, the father, son, and holy ghost, and actor James Dean.  What could this song have to do with beloved community?  So, how does “America Pie” speak to us about being in covenant with one another as a beloved community?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday Service: How Do We Love Another - September 14th, 2014

How Do We Love One Another
Reverend Tom Capo

I often use the phrase “Beloved Community.”  Do you wonder what I mean by that?  Have you ever asked yourself “how do I act if I am part of a beloved community?”  I’m curious about what each of us means by this term.  I believe we are all on the same page with community—a group of people gathered together for a purpose.  But what about beloved?  Are we talking about infatuation, puppy love, conditional love, parental love, soul-mate love, divine or spiritual love, patriotism (love of country), tough love, self-love?  No matter how many definitions or synonyms you might find—and there are a lot—chances are none of them completely captures the full meaning of love.
I have come to believe what the great psychoanalyst Erich Fromm says about love: “Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”  In other words my friends, love is not a feeling.  Although it is so very easy to assume that it is.  Really, love causes a feeling; love is a decision you make, and decisions you continue to make, in order to create an experience that is described as love.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday Sermon: Ingathering Service & Water Communion - September 7th, 2014

Ingathering Service 2014
Water Communion
Reverend Tom Capo
Story--The Water Bearer's Garden  (Reverend Tom)
(From uu & me! Collected Stories, edited by Betsy Hill Williams; Boston: Skinner House, 2003). 

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it. At the end of the long walk from the stream on the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."
"Why?" asked the bearer, "What are you ashamed of?"
"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house.
Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work, and you don't get full value from our efforts," the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt sad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on our side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.
"We all have our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. In the great web of life, nothing goes to waste. Don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness we find our strength.