Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sermons focus on friendship and hospitality

Two Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sermons delivered Sunday 6 December, 2009 mention Thomas Moore’s involvement at the UU Ministers’ Convocation 2009. Each focuses on the soul’s need for friendship and hospitality.

At the Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens and Sheshequin in Athens, Pennsylvania, Rev. Darcey Laine speaks about "The Soul of Friendship":
"A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing author Thomas Moore address the Convocation of UU Ministers in Canada. He was talking about how we tend and feed the soul, and suggested that the most important way we can sustain our souls is friendship."
After illustrating the value of friendship with a poem by Rumi about childhood friends, Laine continues,
As I heard Thomas Moore talk I realized how the soul hungers for such a friendship. Yet somehow as an adult I had kind of gotten the idea that responsible grown ups didn’t crave that kind of friendship, that it wouldn’t have the centrality it did when we were children. It was so affirming to hear Moore talk about the importance of Friendship not just to our "networks" or to our social life, but to our SOUL.

Moore went on to talk about Jesus’ relationship with his disciples, how he called them friend, and how he often ate and cooked and even drank wine with them. Friendship was in the fabric of Jesus’ ministry."
Laine’s sermon explores the value of friendship and the importance of comfortable intimacy among friends.

In "Soul Food", Rev. Lisa Friedman in Mankato, Minnesota says,
"At a recent conference in Ottawa, Ontario, I had the opportunity to hear Thomas Moore, author of such books as Care of the Soul and most recently Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels. Moore makes a distinction between the spiritual needs of the spirit (or mind) and the spiritual needs of the soul. In his experience as a theologian and psycho-therapist, he finds that the human spirit likes distance, but that our souls crave intimacy. So, first and foremost, he argues that the soul needs a home – a physical body and real places to experience pleasure and beauty, pain and loss. But once it finds that home, what the soul needs more than anything is a friend."
Friedman considers how to invite friendship into one’s home and shares,
"Last, but certainly not least, after sweet words and a sitting place, it is the hospitable tradition to offer our guests refreshments. The Hindu teachings are clear that this need not be anything fancy or extravagant. Even a glass of water will suffice. But every host and hostess in all cultures knows that a shared drink, or a shared meal, however large or small, changes our relationship with one another. For Moore, the meaning found in this sharing is not spiritual, but soulful. It is not an intellectual experience to be pursued, but a visceral experience of being alive that re-enchants us with the world in which we live. It a sharing of the pleasure of taste, the joy of company, and the imagination of story and conversation that creates the intimacy which nourishes our soul. Although there are no guarantees, the evidence of human history is that the shared meal can temper us to our enemies, redeem us to our family and friends, and bring together nations and peoples in new ways. It is the foundation of families, and perhaps even the bedrock of our society."
Both sermons are available in their entirety at the linked pages.

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