Devotional for Day Four

 

In his avant-garde theatrical “The Last Supper At Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” New York choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones includes a backwards broadcast of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech: Last At Free Are We. Almighty God Thank! The jumbled juxtaposition of the great orator’s words is jarring, but as a black, gay artist, Jones means no disrespect. The entire work is intended to take the audience out of their normal comfort zone, to help them confront the realities of racism and homophobia that still haunt our land 60 years after Dr. King’s famous speech.

I had an unusual chance to appear on stage with Jones back in 1991, when the show first debuted. In each city where “The Last Supper” performed, a local minister was invited to be part of the act, to join in an impromptu, unscripted dialogue about the persistence of evil and the power of faith. “Are you a person of faith?” Bill asked me. It was a simple question, but unexpected. The two of us were seated in straight-backed chairs on the proscenium, with spotlights shining down and three thousand people filling the theater, listening for my answer. It was a tense moment.

I finally responded that all of us are people of faith. Everyone believes in something. Everyone trusts in a power greater than themselves. The question is where you put your faith. Dr. King, for example, put his faith in the power of non-violent action and redemptive love. Others put their trust in the big stick, armaments and retaliation. But the philosophy of an eye-for-an-eye, King said, left everyone blind.

That particular night happened to be the civil rights leader’s birthday, and January 15 also marked the start of the first Gulf War. American warplanes were bombing Baghdad even as we spoke.

Many wars later (Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan), Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday might be a good time for all of to ask where we put our faith. In F-35 bombers and drone technology? Or do we need a change of heart? “Hatred cannot vanquish hatred,” King proclaimed, “only love can do that.” But do any of us really believe that, even a little?

Dream A Have You? In Believe You Do What? Are “realpolitick” and bigger budgets for defense actually the path to peace? The best way to celebrate King’s legacy is to risk getting out of your comfort zone. Let yourself be confronted by the tough questions that he asked.

 

 

Activities for Day Four

The fourth principle is A free and responsible search for truth and meaning or We search for what is true.

Here are some activities to help you celebrate:

As a family

Have a discussion about religion. What do your children believe? Parents, be aware that children,up until the age of 12, tend to take on the beliefs of their parents. For a lively discussion about religion you may want to let your children speak first, and play devil’s advocate.

Unitarian Universalism is a very long name, and not many people know much about it. Create an elevator, or play ground, speech so you can tell people what it means to be a UU in one minute or less.

Learn some history or do a science experiment together.

As an Individual

Talk with a friend about their beliefs. How are they different than yours? Keep an open mind; who knows, you may find something that rings true for you!

Enjoy coloring some religious symbols like this one found here.

Listen to a podcast from The Pamphlet so you can learn more about UU history.

Food

Different religions have different traditions when it comes to food and the celebration of holidays.Choose one religion and explore their winter holiday through their food. For example, you may make latkes in honor of Chanukah. Just don’t forget to learn about Chanukah along the way!