Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal, not creedal, religion. That means we do not espouse doctrines or subscribe to dogma. Each of us have freedom of belief; we can believe whatever helps us deepen faith, live well, and enact justice. So what makes us a religion? The etymology of the word religion is religare which in Latin means “to bind together.” What binds Unitarian Universalists together? Covenant.
While the word can feel rather academic and even borrowed from other faith traditions, our understanding of covenant is not just a code of conduct, a contract, or a statement we read together. As Rev. Gretchen Haley says, “Covenant is a vision for how to live in this complicated, beautiful and broken world. A vision that says we are most human when we bind ourselves in relationship. Not not just any relationship – relationships of trust, mutual accountability and continual return.”
For us, covenant is a promise to connect deeply – to our true selves, each other, people in society (especially the marginalized), nature and the web of life. I like to say we “pinky swear” to connect and stay connected. I read a book over the summer that defined deep connection as caring for something even when not asked to do so. What and who are your connections? How do you care for them?
We will explore this throughout the month of September. To get us started, Rabbi Marc Soloway from Congregation Bonai Shalom will share the Jewish experience of covenant. Then we will compare that to our Unitarian Universalist experience of covenant and explore how we can create a whole culture based on it – inside our church and beyond.
I am honored to connect deeply with each of you and to live in covenant with you.