Sermon #49 (21st March 2021 at Essex Church / Kensington Unitarians)
When people ask me about Unitarianism – what it is we do, what’s special about our church – I never really give the same answer twice… but one thing I often say is that we seek wisdom from wherever we can find it. So, for example, in this week’s service we’re drawing on ancient stories from the Bible – one of Jesus’ parables – also the best of contemporary Unitarian thought – my mate Bob’s recent poem – and alternative expressions from spiritual-seekers around the globe such as that track we heard from Nimo Patel. But if we’re going to talk about sowing seeds there’s one authority on the subject we just can’t ignore: Monty Don. So I made a point of tuning in on Friday night, for the first episode in the new season of Gardeners World to see if Monty had any wisdom that I could bring to you this morning. You can’t say I don’t take my research seriously!
Sermon #48 (7th March 2021 at Essex Church / Kensington Unitarians)
In last week’s service, Jeannene and I considered the question: ‘To Plan or Not to Plan?’ In the light of this past year – and it is almost exactly a year; I realise it was 8th March 2020 when I last preached in the church building in Kensington – in the light of all the disruption and uncertainty of the last 12 months we were asking: ‘is there any point in planning anything anyway, when our plans are liable to get thwarted, or just torn up and thrown out the window?’ And – I hope this very brief summary of your sermon sounds about right, Jeannene! – we concluded that plans are still very much worth making as they can help us to live more intentionally, to act out of our principles and values, rather than following the crowd; plans can give us a sense of agency, rather than feeling we’re drifting through our days, at the mercy of chance; and plans can keep our spirits up, by giving us things to look forward to, hopes on the horizon. At the same time we can (and we must) be clear-eyed and realistic about the possibility – perhaps the likelihood – that our grand plans won’t entirely survive contact with reality. So it helps if we can hold our plans lightly, with a certain openness-of-mind-and-heart, and be ready to respond and adapt to whatever unexpected curveball life might throw at us next. Which brings us to this morning’s theme: Improvisation as a Way of Life.