This weekend, I do not have a sermon to write because we will have an All Music Service. I’ve had some previews and so am looking forward to it very much.
Meanwhile, I find myself looking ahead to next week’s sermon. I had thought that, in light of the issues surrounding immigration in our society, I would take up the question of what it means to “Love your neighbor.” Who is our neighbor when our world is getting smaller and smaller all the time? I think I will tackle that one at some point soon, but I’d like to put it off a bit for two reasons. First, I am hoping that being part of the Immigration Study Group in the congregation will give me more to work with (Thank you to those organizing that large group!). I’d also like to put it off because I feel the need to preach on Universalism.
Historically, the second half of our tradition’s 10 syllable name, Universalist, comes from the belief that all people will be “saved.” This was a reaction to the dominant theology of the time which said that most people would suffer for eternity in hell. While we might understand “saved” a little differently than did our spiritual ancestors from whom we get this title, I still believe that Universalism is an important part of who we are.
Early Universalism was not so much a statement about people (i.e. that they were savable) but rather it was a statement about God (God is love.) In a world too full of hate, bullying, and fear, the Universalist side of our heritage reminds us of the on-going need to create a world based on love, acceptance, and hope. Only in such a world can all people be brought to wholeness.
Among the reasons I want to preach on Universalism is that it has recently become a hot topic in the religious world and I want us be able to be part of the conversation. For now, let me just invite you take a look at what happens when a Evangelical Christian pastor decides to publish a book that has been called “Universalist” as both a compliment and a slur. An article about the controversy is here. Take a look at the pastor’s embedded 3 minute video.
The book titled “Love Wins” is scheduled for release at the end of the month, but today when I went get on the list to get a copy, I discovered I could get one today. Off to read…