"Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much for you, try the following experiment: Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have ever seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be for any use to him or her...Then you will find any doubts and your self melting away."
Sometimes we wonder why we are church. Why do people come together week after week to worship together, to support one another, to connect with the transcendent in some small way at the beginning of what is often a frantic, rushed, and ennervating week ahead.
The reason that we do it is because we care. We care about ourselves, each other, and the world and this is one way to act on that caring, to do something about it, to stand in solidarity with others who are like minded and who care and seek the same things.
Every person who comes to church is hurting in some way. Do you know what that is? People hide it well. Thich Knat Hanh says that if you want to know what makes people tick, pay attention to their suffering. When you understand that you will understand them. I also think the same thing could be said about joy. If you want to know what makes people tick, pay attention to what gives them joy and you will understand a lot about them.
We usually are too narcissistic to be conscientiously conscious of each other but that is what a good church is, a group of folks who are conscientiously conscious of themselves and of the world. We pay attention to the least among us and then decide with compassion and generosity how to respond.
At the end of the day, our decisions about how to respond to ourselves, to the world around us, is based on the kind of people we want to be. Do we care about what kind of people we are becoming?
And as Gandhi says, if you are having difficulty making a decision about what you want, what is right, think of the poorest, most suffering person you have personally encountered and then ask how the decision would affect someone like him/her.
Unitarian Universalist churches have a lot of work to do. We have a world to save, but more importantly people to relate to and serve.