Welcome to 2020!
The turn of the year — and maybe even more so, the turn of the decade — is a natural place to consider the future.
Who will we be, and with whom? What victories will we celebrate, what losses will we grieve, what will bring us joy, and sustenance, and hope?
In what way will we be a part of bending the arc of the universe towards — or away from — justice?
Maybe you’re especially tuned in to the results of the national election, or the results of a medical test? Or maybe you’re wondering what’s going to happen with your marriage, your job, your home?
Or maybe you’re watching the fires rage in Australia, and wondering: is this what future summers will look like for us, too? And when and how will we ever respond not just to a future climate crisis, but the one that’s raging now?
It’s common to experience these attempts to see into the future with both elation and anxiety. Because imagining the future puts us in touch with both our power and our powerlessness. The human experience of both knowing your significance and your insignificance — all at once. Elation and not just anxiety but terror!
But here’s the good news. We’re all in this elation and terror together!
And by good news I mean: one way to think about Unitarian Universalism is to affirm that we all share the same source, and we share the same destiny. Which means whatever future we are headed for, it’s our shared future.
As Rev. Theresa Ines Soto says: “All of us need all of us to make it.”
It’s one way of saying we are all in this together — there is no such thing as individual liberation. But also, it’s a way of affirming that the way to that liberation is by bringing together all of our voices, all of our creativity, all of our “pieces of the truth,” all of our struggles and griefs and gratitudes — all at the table.
We need all of us — and every part of us.
And what makes this especially good news is that when we all come round the table, we are already an embodiment of the future we are trying to create. The future is here, and now. Are you ready?
Series Spiritual Practices
To explore the themes of this series more personally, we invite you to try out our series spiritual practices:
1. Labyrinth Meditation. Walking a Labyrinth is an ancient practice used by many different faiths for spiritual centering, contemplation, and prayer. Entering the path, you walk slowly while quieting your mind and focusing on a spiritual question or prayer. This practice allows you to embody the practice of moving in time, and open yourself more fully to the call of the future. During the month of January, we are borrowing a cloth labyrinth from our friends at Plymouth UCC which we will have available during the 11:30 service, as well as at drop in hours listed below. There are also many outdoor labyrinths for you to visit in the area — find one here. If walking the labyrinth isn’t accessible for you, we also encourage the use of finger labyrinths. We will have those available on Sundays as well!
2. Vision Board. Take a moment at the start of the new year and the new decade to full imagine what future you want to create — for yourself, for our community, for the world. Learn more here.
Series Featured Ministry
New in 2020, each series will have one Foothills ministry featured — both as a way of better lifting up all the many ways we fulfill our mission, and the huge impact our community has — and also to invite you to deepen and live out the series themes in partnership with others at Foothills.
This month, our featured ministry is Racial and Healing Justice. Foothills Racial Justice and Healing Ministry emerges out of a commitment to dismantle racism in all its forms, including within ourselves. We recognize that racism is not an event, but a system and believe that the Beloved Community is possible — and is the vision of the future that we are seeking to create, together. Join in on the work: Foothillsuu.org/RacialJustice
We always choose one song for each of our worship series that we sing or perform in every Sunday in the series. It’s usually something you’ll find yourself singing later in the day, without even realizing it. Because music connects in the deepest parts of our brains, the idea is that we’ll connect more fully with theme, and bring it into our everyday lives.
For this series, we’ve chosen People Get Ready, a classic written by Curtis Mayfield. For many of you, this song will be really familiar — and will evoke memories of 1960s protests and divided times. This is intentional, as we believe that there are lessons and experiences of the 1960s fight for Civil Rights and Anti-War Protests that apply to today — and ways that the heartbreak of that time lingers as we try to divine hope for our future, today. For those for whom it’ll be new, we hope you’ll enjoy discovering this song about preparing for a future where all are welcome, and thriving.
Even if you know it, give yourself the treat of hitting play on the above video and soak in all the magic of Al Green, Linda Jones, and Wanda Neal.
Here are a few articles and ideas we are engaging as we explore this theme:
- What Gives Climate Experts Hope
- What if We Didn’t Have a Future Tense This article was a touchstone during Slow Down, but became an inspiration as we were planning the January series
- Rebecca Parker’s essay “After the Apocalypse” which you can find in Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now
- Throw Away Your Vision Board – Critique / re-frame for our spiritual practice
- The Grandest Vision for Humanity by Riva Melissa Taz
- How To Resist from a Place of Love: Self Care for the Long Haul
- White Lies Podcast – investigating the 1965 murder of James Reeb
- Automating Humans: The Cost of Amazon’s Extreme Efficiency
Look for Sunday follow ups in the Weekly Foothills Email
The service on Sunday is just 1 of 168 hours in your week.
Which means that the way to make Sunday have a real impact on our lives, we need to find ways to bring it into the rest of the week.
One of the ways we’re doing this is by focusing our weekly email as a follow up to the prior Sunday. We include all the major elements of the service — from a link to the sermon to the text of readings, resources we used, music we sang, and a reminder of the key takeaway.
We hope this offers you a touchstone throughout your week to return to and to go deeper — and to pass it on to a friend who you think would appreciate it.
We’ll also post resources throughout the series at foothillsuu.org/futuretense
“Thanks, Robert Frost”
by David Ray
Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought…
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
And I too, and my children, so I hope,
will recall as not too heavy the tug
of those albatrosses I sadly placed
upon their tender necks. Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.
Join us for the whole
Future Tense Series
Every Sunday – in person, or online.
8:30, 10:00, or 11:30 am
through the month of January