Rev. Barnaby Feder, Minister
Rev. Barnaby Feder, Minister

During a meeting this summer with worship team leaders, the conversation turned to our theme for the coming year at CVUUS – Journeying Toward Radical Love. Poppy expressed frustration that we didn’t have a definition of  “radical love.” How would this vague theme help us plan worship, RE, and all the other aspects of congregational life that make CVUUS our spiritual home? “What do you mean by   radical love?” she said over and over, in different ways.

I’m not sure yet and may never be. But here are a few things I know. First, when Piper named “radical love” last spring as what’s missing from our poisonous political and social climate, she lit a giant chalice of truth.  Her sermon called us to essential “soul work” even if we didn’t have a confident, specific, shared answer to such basic questions as “What do I do now?” Or, for that matter, “What do we mean by radical love?”

I also know our faith teaches that our understanding of what we hold sacred is rooted in love. So is the work of nurturing justice and expressions of beauty. And so is our striving to treat ourselves and each other compassionately. Finally (for now), I know that when anything grounded in love is challenged, we UU’s are called to respond with love that is deeper, more creative and courageous, and tireless. In a word –  radical love.

Poppy’s question wisely wonders in part what that looks like in action. Our task this year is to find out together. We can start by asking of everything we do, where is the radical love in this?

I’ve grown fond of this question. I credit it, for instance, with leading me to a vision of replacing our auction with a giant party giving away services, goods and fellowship opportunities to each other at no cost to the “bidders.” You’ll hear more soon about this idea and how it might free us of the classism built into traditional auctions. Wherever this idea goes from here, I hope it will be seen as a potentially bold communal experiment in radical love.

As one of our hymns says, “Maybe we’ll finally see that to question truly is an answer.” Piper and Poppy pointed us toward a profoundly true question. What could we mean by radical love?

Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby