SGM January 2016 Theme: Freedom
“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” – Rosa Luxemburg
“As responsible religious seekers, we recognize that we are privileged to be free, to have resources to pursue life beyond mere survival, to continually search for truth and meaning, to exist beyond bonds of dogma and oppression, and to wrestle freely with truth and meaning as they evolve.”
– Rev. Paige Getty, UU Congregation of Columbia, Maryland
Share briefly what’s been on your mind lately or your highs and lows since we last met.
Thoughts for Contemplation
Here are some meanings of Freedom from Merriam – Webster online
The quality or state of being free as:
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous (freedom from care)
The precondition the fulfillment of our own freedom is the freedom from physical and political coercion, the fundamental human rights.
In the absence or in spite of physical coercion, how do we imprison ourselves?
Who among us hasn’t at some point turned our backs on what they felt was their calling? Not that we wanted to. It’s just that we were stuck. Circumstances, responsibilities, constraints or assumptions made that desire seem out of reach. We felt trapped, forced to say “No” when our heart wanted to say “Yes”.
More often than not, this is the true dilemma when it comes to freedom. It’s not so much about running away from something as it is about wanting to run toward something but not being able to! In other words, there is a big difference between “freedom from” and “freedom to.”
Our Unitarian Universalist faith, at its best, it never simply asks us, “What do you need to get away from?” No, it pushes us to ask the deeper question of “What is it that you want to run toward?” Mature freedom is never about the absence of all constraints; it’s about being able to commit yourself to what you truly want to commit to. It’s about constraints of our own choosing. It’s about that big difference between “freedom from” and “freedom to”.
Find an escape for you or another! There are some things we can never escape even if we want to: A diagnosis, a loss, the responsibility of caregiving, regret, worry, the draining busyness of daily life, the joy-filled but nonstop responsibility of parenting. Some of these burdens are extraordinary; some are routine. But regardless of their weight or intensity, we find ourselves longing for a reprieve. A spiritual timeout. A temporary moment of renewal that lets us feel carefree just long enough to be refilled or to gain a new perspective.
That’s what this spiritual exercise is all about: Find a way to help yourself or another feel carefree! Find a way to step outside the weight of whatever you or they are carrying—even if only for a moment or a
To be specific, here is your task:
1. Find a moment of quiet and watch this video-all the way through:
http://www.utrend.tv/v/one-second/ Note: This will take under 5 minutes!
2. Spend some time identifying the burden, weight or responsibility from which you or another need (or would just like) a brief time of escape.
3. Then do something to create that escape. Do something that leaves you or someone you’re concerned with feeling carefree!
4. Come back to your group prepared to share the gift that this moment of freedom gave you.
Questions for Contemplation
What in your life would you like to be free from?
What does freedom mean to you?
Where in your life are you compelled to say “No” when your heart really wants to say “Yes”?
What is it that you want to use your freedom for?
Sitting in Silence
Take a few moments to sit quietly and reflect upon freedom.
Respond with your thoughts/experiences with the topic.
This is a time to supportively respond to something another person said or to relate additional thoughts that may have occurred as others shared.
Song, Singing The Living Tradition #151(verses 2 and 4)
I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars that keep us apart
And I wish you could know how it is to be me
Then you’d see and agree that every man should be free
I wish I could be like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be if I found I could fly
Well I’d soar to the sun and look down at the sea
And I’d sing cos I know how it feels to be free
“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
– David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Elements of this curriculum came from: