Ubuntu: I am because you are. You are because I am.
“In my experience, ubuntu is a deep and embodied understanding that human beings are not born but formed in community and relationship with one another.”
~ David W. Robinson-Morris
Anyone who has received an email from me knows that my signature includes the ubuntu philosophy of Southern Africa expressed above. From the first time I learned of it, it resonated deeply within me. Just as our UU expression of the interdependent web of all existence resonated deeply the first time I read it, and the understanding of interbeing in Buddhism resonated, and the interconnected metaphor of Indra’s Net in Hinduism resonated, and the network of mutuality expressed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King resonated.
These expressions of interconnectedness in philosophies and cosmologies the world over speak to my heart and seem to identify a resonance of wisdom that humans have as a common inner knowing all over the world.
This past weekend during the various celebrations of our co-creation of shared ministry at ERUUF, and your Act of Installation during which I was formally installed as Lead Minister, I was awash in this resonance. In what I can only name as great love and feelings of ubuntu: of interconnectedness, interdependence, interbeing, and mutuality. It seemed to me that we were all awash in it, that we had indeed entered into a deep and embodied understanding of our relationship one to another.
In the midst of it all, I recalled that the very first sermon I preached as ERUUF’s student minister I invited the congregation into an ubuntu call and response:
“I am because you are,” I said. And you replied, “You are because I am.”
This past weekend nothing has ever seemed more true.
I embark upon this journey with you with deep and profound joy.
My heartfelt thank you to every single ministry, group, adult, youth, and child who lent a hand and offered their hearts in doing the incredible work of creating the most amazing Installation ever (at least that’s what many of the visiting UU ministers have said)! There are too many of you to name here, and I don’t want to miss any of you -- though I must give a shout out to Pam DiLavore and her intrepid Installation committee: Diane Blount, Kristi Chilton, Flynn McSherry and Jean O’Barr. ERUUF’s amazing staff. And yes, everyone else too!
It has me imagining: if we can do this, what else might we co-create together bringing to bear our joy, love, hard work, and determination? We shall not stop here.
And. Let us also press pause for a moment. To rest. Sit in the delight of it all. Simply breathe in love, breathe out peace, and be in the experience and memory of what was created in these recent good days.
The planning and hard work will be there waiting for us. And we know we can take it on.
The horizon beckons. And we are heading toward it together.
I am because we are.
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