30 Days of Love, or National Standing on the Side of Love Month, begins on January 18, 2014. It is a month of “intentional action, service, education, and reflection,” which people around the world, many of them Unitarian Universalists, observe both as individuals and in their congregations. This year will be the third time we are asked to take this month-long journey, and I would like to invite all of us at First Unitarian to join me in saying “Yes!” to this important call to commit.
You might be asking “What’s the point?” or “Why is this month so important?” Well, there is a running joke about Unitarian Universalists: Walk into one of our congregations and ask three different members “What do UUs believe?”…and you’ll get nine different answers. That’s probably true, and that’s not a bad thing. But I think there is a better question to be asked if you want to get at the heart of Unitarian Universalism, and why this month is so important.
What is a Unitarian Universalist? A lover.
Unitarian Universalism is not so much about believing as it is about being. And this month reminds us that as members of this faith tradition we are people who love. Not just the love in your typical Hollywood movie—the love we embody when we come to services on Sundays in this intentionally diverse community; when we attend a wedding that is a beautiful act of civil disobedience against an unjust law; when we stand by the thousands outside of Joe Arpaio’s “Tent City,” singing and shouting to say “We see you!” to the people being unjustly held in inhumane conditions; when we join others to end the mass incarceration that has plagued our country for decades as a racist and classist institution based on fear. To quote Unitarian Universalist minister Rebecca Parker, our “love tends the wounds created by injustice and evil and offers compassion in the presence of life's suffering.” Our “love is the active, creative force that repairs life's injuries and brings new possibilities into being.”
As lovers, UUs are compelled to act—to work towards a society in which everyone has an equal opportunity to exercise their inherent human rights. As lovers, we are called to honor our interconnected existence by freely giving of ourselves to stand in solidarity with those who do not have a choice except to fight. As lovers, we recognize that only systemic approaches to injustice will bring about the change necessary to save all of humanity. As lovers, we are people committed to doing what must be done to save our world from the divisive systems and attitudes that breed fear, discrimination, inequality, and violence. As lovers, we say no to the oppressive status quo, because we believe we can do better. As lovers, Unitarian Universalists are makers of justice.
So in 2014, let us be lovers together. For a period of 30 days, let us stand together, act together, learn together, reflect together. Beginning on January 18, 2014, let us take 30 days to love together. For each of those 30 days, let us do what must be done as a community, knowing that thousands across the country are doing the same thing. For each week of this month there will be a different theme; for each day there will be a new opportunity to reflect, act, and love. From January 18 through February 16, let us remind ourselves and show the world that Unitarian Universalists are lovers.
Sign up to be a part of “National Standing on the Side of Love” month here. As a congregation, we will collect stories of our reflections and activities in a shared community forum. On February 16, we will celebrate those moments together and explore how to continue as lovers moving forward. If you would like to be a part of our community reflection process, email Ranwa Hammamy at email@example.com.
"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public." ~ Cornell West