Last Sunday, I gave a message about the parables Jesus taught- well vaguely the message was about the parables. Mostly, I spoke about how messages can get changed when they are handed down from generation to generation.
That’s what has happened with the message of Love that Jesus taught. Somehow, in the centuries between when Jesus was alive and preaching, and when people were able to write down the story of his life and teachings, there were some interpretive changes. And then over the past couple of thousand years, still more changes and interpretations have happened, spawning the creation of many different variations of Christianity.
I don’t want to write about that here, though…
I want to give you a glimpse at how my thinking went in creating a Message for All Ages this week. My process is always rather lumpy and circumspect. At first, I began humming a tune from my teen years. Just couldn’t get it out of my mind, but I figured this was not quite right for the Sanctuary. Have a listen (but maybe not with the kids in earshot)
Then, I had the idea to talk about how when we listen to songs, sometimes the lyrics we HEAR are not exactly the ones that the musicians WRITE. Just like sometimes modern people reading the Bible think there is a literal translation, but often Jesus and others spoke in metaphors, or using illustrations from their historical context that don’t have the same meaning today. I spent a while writing down songs I have misheard over the years. It was funny, but I scrapped that plan because I couldn’t find a resource to use. Today, a friend showed me this:
Do all these youtube videos seem irreverent? I hope not, because we need to have fun- while being respectful- with all our sources. I will go so far to say we need to have more fun, period. I understand why many are timid to embrace Christian sources, but this doesn’t serve our faith development.
Our Unitarian Universalist congregations (on the whole) are nervous about embracing the wisdom in the Bible because of some of the ways Christianity has been and is being misused. Some worry that saying yes to Jesus will make us a partner in the hate crimes we see by extremists. This is silly thinking. I think it is time to recognize that we can appreciate the good, life affirming and loving teachings of Jesus without diminishing our other sources.
Let’s not worry so much! Let’s sing and laugh and play in church! We have this wonderful community of accepting friends to play with us! Let’s have an open and curious mind toward all the sources of our spiritual development. We have nothing to lose, and we might gain some understanding of ourselves along the way.