Prelude: “Beauty in You” by Meg Barnhouse
Chalice Lighting: The Pride Flame By Linda Lee Franson
Song: Gathered Here
Respect the importance of all beings.
Offer fair and kind treatment to all.
Yearn to learn throughout life.
Grow by exploring ideas and values together.
Believe in your ideas and act on them.
Insist on peace, freedom, and justice for all.
Value our interdependence with nature.
Offering and Response (Unison)
For the gifts which we have received—and the gifts which we, ourselves, are—may we be truly grateful. Yet more than that, may we be committed to using these gifts to make a difference in the world: to increase love and justice; to decrease hatred and oppression; to expand beloved community; to share, and to keep sharing, as long as ever we can. Amen.
Hymn: 21 For the Beauty of the Earth
Reading: Selections from “Uses of Anger” by Audre Lorde
Lesson: I don’t want to Keep Calm but I will Carry On by Cricket Hall
“Calm Down”, “Why are you yelling?”, “No one is going to listen to you when you are that angry.” These are just some of the common responses to someone being angry. No. That’s not right. Actually, all of those are common responses to someone being passionate, particularly if that someone is a member of a minority.
If you type anger into google, the first three suggestions it provides are anger synonym, anger management, and anger issues. In writing today’s service, I was trying to find things commonly said to angry people and found 13 different articles on how to calm someone down as well as a few on anger management.
We are somewhat obsessed with keeping calm in our society. It is a sign of maturity, class, wisdom, and civilization. Our society repeatedly admonishes those who get angry while praising those who keep their cool and remain “pleasant”. We teach children not to be angry. We refuse to talk to people when they are angry. We find other ways of telling people they are bad or less because they are angry. Our society trivializes major issues because people are angry. We stereotype angry black people, angry latinx people, and angry women, so that we don’t have to listen to what they say.
However, we’ve gotten it all wrong. Anger isn’t evil. Anger is not the worst thing that can happen. We all know that bottling up emotions is bad for you, but what is rarely discussed is how useful anger can be. Angry people, however counterintuitively, are more optimistic. This might be because anger is a catalyst for change. If someone tells you, “You can’t do this” or “Stop being silly, that will never happen”. There are only a few ways to respond. One is to shut down, believing the other person and giving up. The other is to say, “Yes, I can” or “yes, it will, because I’m going to make it happen”. That response is fueled by anger. “how dare they say I can’t!”
We need anger. Besides motivating us, anger in relationships can help us see the problems that are seemingly hiding. Anger is a cue to the other person, or people, that something is wrong. It has been said that anger is a secondary emotion, we feel it if we are already feeling something else first, despair, hurt, confusion, frustration, confusion. Anger can even be a cue to ourselves that something is wrong.
So, what does all of this mean for us as Unitarian Universalists? The sixth principle is “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” or “We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world” or “Insist on peace, freedom, and justice for all.” We often get caught up in the ideas of world community and peace and forget the liberty and justice for all part. We think that a world community needs to be peaceful and free of argument; that there should be no anger. Yes, peace is freedom from war and violence. It is tranquility, but getting there is not. We cannot just sit and talk about justice and expect it to work. We cannot start at a place of peace. We need to be angry. We need to shout.
Even God gets angry. She used Amos to say these words
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” Amos 5:21-24 The Message https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Amos%205%3A18-25&version=MSG I chose to read from The Message because I liked that version the best, but the last verse is more commonly read, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” We sometimes forget that anger is useful. We sometimes forget that it is necessary. We sit and talk about problems. We focus on what has changed. We focus on how small we are. We focus on the fact that one person cannot do much. We get caught up in t-shirts, banners, and parades, to remember what we were doing in the first place.
We forget that in our country’s quest for liberty anger united people. Anger got attention when it helped people dump tea into the Boston Harbor. Anger fueled freedom as Harriet Tubman escaped and then led others to freedom. Anger spoke out for women’s right to vote. Anger marched on Selma. Anger threw bricks at Stonewall. Anger rioted in Baltimore and marched with candles in Charleston. Anger has been with us on the quest for liberty and justice since we started walking. We cannot ignore it. We cannot cover it up. We must honor it.
I chose to use the rainbow principles today because the sixth one is “Insist on peace, freedom, and justice for all.” In this set of principles, it is not about belief. There is no lofty intellectualism in this version of the principle. It is not about meetings. Insist is the key word. We must demand and persist in demanding, peace, freedom, and justice for all. We must change the way we speak. We must move with those who need justice. We must accept their anger and let it fuel our own. We need to create our own rivers of fairness and justice. To do that we need anger. We need to use it. We need to let it transform us in ways we had not thought possible.
This is a poem by Noor Unnhar, a 19-year-old Pakistani poet and youtuber.
Keeping Calm is not an option anymore. To Carry On, one cannot be calm. We must be filled with fire. We must use our anger to insist on justice, insist on liberty, so we can work towards peace.
Song: This Little Light of Mine
Joys and Sorrows
If you woke this morning with a sorrow so heavy that you need the help of this community to carry it; or if you woke with a joy so great that it simply must be shared, now is the time for you to speak.
For the joys and sorrows that haven’t been spoken, but which remain in the silent sanctuaries of our hearts. These joys and griefs, spoken and unspoken, weave us together in the fabric of community.
Prayer: “May we understand that anger is a powerful signal and response to injustice and make room for healthy anger” by Rev. Sean Parker Dennison
Song: Go Now In Peace (3 times)
Next week we will be at Watters Smith Memorial State Park at the Pioneer Shelter for our spiritual outing.
Don’t forget Pagan Pride Day is Sunday July 30th!
We would love to have you come worship with us.
Our services are Sundays at 11 a.m. at the Progressive Women’s Association Event Center, 305 Washington Ave. in downtown Clarksburg, behind the Courthouse. There are classes for children and adults 10 to 10:45 am, and a coffee gathering before the service. More about us.
Classes and worship are replaced by Spiritual Outings on the first Sunday of each month during the summer, with brief worship, a potluck picnic, and outdoor activities. The schedule is in the sidebar.
Children are welcome. There is childcare and an activity for young children during the service.
The building is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible restroom.
The schedule for the current adult religious education class is here.
or write to us at PO Box 523, Clarksburg WV 26302