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

Back in my days as a business news reporter, I came across a saying I’ve shared with many of you: “Anxiety is interest paid on trouble before it’s due.”

It struck me as absolutely true, and then, the more I thought about it over the years, mostly true, and then, as I thought about it more closely this month, not true enough often enough to be helpful. To start with, interest payments are agreed to ahead of time and scheduled. I’ve never experienced anxiety to be that orderly. Have you?

The saying also implies that if we could suppress anxiety about the future, much of what we imagine as trouble won’t come to pass. But I’ve come to see anxiety at its best as the hallmark of creative foresight attached to caring about outcomes. I want to be around people who care enough to be anxious. It’s preferable to indifference, ignorance, or willful blindness, however uncomfortable.

I’ve been thinking about it because I sense that anxiety levels are running high in our congregation, our community, and the country as a whole. From what I read, it’s the case overseas as well.

Our theme for October is the question, “What does it mean to be a people of transformation?” Well, one thing it needs to mean these days is that we UU’s have some skill at working together to transform anxiety into more positive feelings. A sense of purpose, for sure. Some others might be hope, compassion, and appropriate anger. Many of us would probably add making and appreciating beautiful things and experiences to the list. Such transformations won’t always shield us from the troubles we are encountering or expect to encounter soon. But they will allow us to bring the best we have to offer each other to the challenges.

I have faith that our best is more than we realize, yet to come, and clothed in many of the five holy characteristics Rev. Victoria Safford named in our Sept. 16 reading, Stung By Bees: exciting, urgent, comforting, dangerous (not often, I hope!), and sustaining.

May we walk together through the transformations to come!

Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby

P.S.– I’m looking for ways to make our minister-congregation conversation more two-way. I invite you to check out my October sermon topics and get back to me on the following questions asap: Oct. 14 — do you have a role model in your life whose influence stems from how they transformed something terrible into something inspiring? Oct. 21 – do you know someone who seemed to come alive as a changed person in their last years of life? Oct. 28 — do you have a food or food ritual that feels sacred to you (don’t worry about being politically correct!).