UUA Worship and Inspiration, Choosing to Connect, by Priscilla Shumway

UUA Worship and Inspiration, Choosing to Connect, by Priscilla Shumway

“When we acknowledge that all life is sacred and that each act is an act of choice and therefore sacred, then life is a sacred dance lived consciously each moment. When we live at this level, we participate in the creation of a better world.”
–Scout Cloud Lee

Every Saturday morning, my husband and I rise early and head off to volunteer at our local food bank. The food bank is supported by people from twenty-eight different congregations, including our Unitarian Church. After we set up, volunteers gather as our Director reads a Bible passage and a prayer.

Cropped shot of a group of businesspeople standing together and holding hands in a modern office

As a UU and atheist, these prayers initially caused me discomfort. As I stood listening, all I heard were the things that I did NOT agree with. But by focusing on the things I disagreed with I created a sense of separation, of judgment, between me and the others.

Over two years, as my relationship with the other volunteers and the mission of the outreach has deepened, there has been a change in my relationship to these prayers. Now during the prayer, I hear the sentiments I agree with, rather than those I disagree with. I agree that we all give of our time, talent, and treasure to do this work; that the work we do is important in the lives of our clients; that we who volunteer feel called to do this work.

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