We try to have the two Sunday services the same, but there are a few times during the year when they are different. This coming Sunday is one of those times: the Coming of Age service will be at eleven; I’ll be preaching at nine.
This brings me to the general topic of our two services: we’ve had good attendance at the nine o’clock, and the eleven has been bursting at the seams. You might consider coming to the earlier service, both for your own comfort (you’ll be able to park!) and to balance the two.
Last Sunday I did something unusual, which is not unusual, I know: I asked the 5th and 6th grade Bible class to provide questions for the first service, and I asked the 7th grade Neighboring Faiths class to provide questions for the second service, and their questions were the basis of my sermon. It was a bit anxious-making, since I chose not to look at the questions ahead of time. But the response was gratifying.
I’ll transcribe the recording, and do a little editing with my responses. The first set of questions included the following: Who is God? Does God control us? Are people born good or bad? Did we evolve from apes? Why did it take 7 days for God to make earth? What did the serpent in Adam and Eve tell Eve; why did the serpent not like Adam and Eve? Are people really good or bad? Were you a Unitarian when you were a kid? Is there a God? Why do people pass away? Why is there violence in the world? Why do you call it a church and only have services on Sunday, if it is not a Christian denomination? How do you know that there is a God? Why don’t Unitarians get a first communion? Do dreams mean anything?
The seventh grade class asked: What is a UU; Who can be a UU. Do you have to do anything special to become a UU. If someone asks you what a UU is what do you answer? Do UU ministers go to a special theology school separate from other religions? Why do we light chalice candles? Why is the chalice candle the symbol of the UU church? Do we have other holy objects? What religious holidays do UU’s practice? Do UU’s have a holy book? Why do we study the Bible in RE but not the other holy books? What do we think about other religions? Can UU’s go to other churches? Who founded the UU; when was the UU founded; why was the UU founded? What do we believe happens in the afterlife; do we believe in a God or spirit; do all UU’s believe in exactly the same thing?
I told them that I might not answer all of their questions, but I’ll respond to them; I said that each of us, ministers and members, is free to have our own answers to questions about God, and questions about good and evil, and so forth. But they are not final answers, since we continue to grow, to mature, to learn from experience.
I gave an example of how we change our beliefs, saying that when you are at a certain age you believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Someone told me he was sitting beside a ten-year old who responded to that statement with a look of dismay. He said, “I think the look on her face said, ‘Oops, you mean my parents realize I don’t really believe in those things anymore?’ Maybe she was afraid she wouldn’t get the goodies!”
I’ll write my responses to their questions and put them on our web site. I hope you’re well.