In my ministerial, pastoral and leadership role, I find myself thinking often about connections in various ways – the quality of connectedness among the members of congregation, connections across ages and stages of life, across cultures, across interests and core commitments. What are the ways in which we are isolated individuals, and how are we united as a congregation – how are we connected? How much connection is healthy, how do we maintain a strategic balance between individuality and unity?
I understand the essential nature of reality as everything being connected in some way to everything else. As physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Not only are we in the Universe, the Universe is in us.” There exist only a limited number of elements, so that we are made of the same stuff as other creatures, the same stuff as plants, rocks, even the same elements as stars.
Connection unites at the level of our sub-atomic particles. The experience of connection is vital to our lives; we know that human infants, even if their physical needs are met, cannot develop and thrive in the absence of physical and emotional contact with other humans. We are born into families and tribes for a reason, since our very being depends on those crucial and ongoing connections.
As we mature, we connect in new ways, by observing, by listening, by exchanging our thoughts, ideas and emotions with others. We have much to gain by deepening our connections with those closest to us, and perhaps even more with those who live or believe in different ways than we do.
Congregational life is built and sustained by connections. Sharing a meal, playing together, engaging in a small group discussion, exchanging ideas in a class – all of us are nurtured in so many ways by this UUCP community. May we be attentive to the connections that sustain us, and so may we learn to grow and thrive into our human potential.