Marta I. Valentin
The clouds gather and the rumbling is enough to unsettle anyone. The
thunderous sounds all across the sky bring up all kinds of memories, even
memories from a time when we might not be able to explain what is causing the
sound. As the clouds gather, the sky darkens, until it feels like nighttime is
upon us, because indeed it is.
What extraordinary spectacles are these storms emerging from the Gulf:
Extraordinary to marvel at, and at the same time, extra-ordinary as in atypical,
and hence, as we have seen, devastating. And then, almost at a blink of an eye,
the openness that is the warmth of the sun emerges...
Today we remember, not in the sense that we could ever forget, but in the
intentional sense that we have brought forth into this sacred space,
the names of those who have gone before us into the Great Mystery.
Today we celebrate too, that we as two communities worshipping as one, have
had the great good fortune to survive. We celebrate that we are alive, that in
these bodies are beating hearts whose beat keeps time for a city still grieving.
We celebrate that we are still here to tell the stories, and to create the
stories of the future.
One year later New Orleans is literally still in the dark, the heavy,
gray/black clouds still hovering, but if New Orleans is to emerge as a city
"bigger and better", than let us commit to being bearers of light to guide the
others out of the darkness. Let the swirl of the clouds hover above us, as we
take to the streets of humanity feeding our brothers and sisters the elixir that
is love .
In the words of Diane Thornton: "Give yourself to giving, and you'll find
that the things that matter are returning." The things that matter cannot return
unless we actively bring them back, unless we pull them out of the darkness of
no return, and shine the light of possibility on them. Possibilities
that are as diverse as we are, inside and outside of these four walls.
To be a bearer of light is to hold in the highest esteem, the building of
relationships. As Rumi wrote, "This being human is a guest house, every
morning a new arrival." Each day we have an opportunity to build a new
relationship where previously none existed.
A bearer of light is not concerned with what they can take, but with what
they can give to any situation, even one that might rile them, or aspire to
throw them off course.
A bearer of light while it can have a spiritual significance as what Thomas
has stated in his gospel, it does not have to. It can be a commitment one makes
to lighten an experience that might seem heavy, to share an insight even when it
might scare you to do so, to act the clown when everyone around you is being so
It can be a commitment to be that ray of sun that emerges at the blink of an
It can be a commitment to remain calm, when all around you the world is
spinning, to remain grounded when the urge is to take flight, to remain loving
when the devil is knocking on your door, pushing you into the abyss that is
As you consider your role as a bearer of light, I offer you these tools to
help create the "bigger and better" New Orleans that our spirits need.
My friends, there will be so many more challenges ahead for New Orleans, that
it will be crucial for us to know what it is beyond the fact that we are
Unitarian Universalists, beyond our history, beyond even our Principles, that
bind us one to the other. Our "bigger and better" New Orleans must encompass a
new way of living that does not refute the individual or the community.
This is our time to see ourselves as bearers of light, bringing new life to a
city that has been in desperate need of it since before Hurricane Katrina.
Thanks to Katrina we have been blessed in so many ways and we have been left
to survive for reasons only we can discover. Yet what we know to be true is that
UUs across the country believe in us, they believe in our possibilities, and
because of it, one of the biggest blessings has emerged, that is of new
relationships with our denominational headquarters, between congregations,
within congregations, as well as ecumenically and in interfaith settings.
We have been blessed by the currency that is money running through our
congregational veins, but the fuller sustenance comes from having the
opportunity of sharing our stories. We have blessed others by helping them find
their skills, and welcoming them into this jigsaw puzzle that is our recovery
We have blessed others by choosing to survive in a situation that seems
hopeless at times, by giving them the gift of being needed and the chance to
respond to the call.
Although at times it may feel that all we do is receive, we are giving to
others what money can never buy. Underneath it all, we are working to keep
Unitarian Universalism alive in our hearts. We are using the Principles to guide
our relationships with each other, and now, it is time to use them to guide our
relationships with the larger community. We have been blessed with much, and now
it is time to give back to New Orleans.
Let us give ourselves to giving, and so that we can l find that the things
that matter are returning.
Que asi sea. So may it be. Blessed be.
© All right reserved. Do not duplicate without permission.
Notes of the six tools taken from: Bearer of Light: From
Jesus to the New Age of Enlightenment by Paul Deslauriers.
Copyright: The author has given Unitarian Universalist Association
member congregations permission to reprint this piece for use in public worship.
Any reprints must acknowledge the name of the author.
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Last updated on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.
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