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Bank Street Unitarian Chapel

Open Hearts Open Minds

Reflections

Minister’s Letter

May's Theme: Beauty

God must get hungry for us; why is He not also a lover who wants His lovers near?

Beauty is my teacher helping me to know He cares for me.

Hafiz

 

As the years pass I find myself more and more interested in beauty. Previously I have viewed religion as more about truth and goodness. It is about those things. It is important to seek truth and to work for a better world. More than ever, and in this time of political turmoil, we need to be doing all we can for a peaceful and just society. In this election campaign we need to be asking our politicians what they are doing to create peace and justice.

But more than ever I think we're missing something if we're not also pursuing beauty. It is not just that we want a better world, we also want a beautiful world. And we want to save the beauty that exists in this world: the beauty of the natural world, the beauty of people who are fully alive living in joy, the beauty of art and music that touches the soul.

Beauty does something to us. As we reach out to it, somehow, it also reaches out to us. Beauty moves us in a way nothing else can. It shows us the way to God in the way that nothing else can. Somehow, when we are overwhelmed with beauty we find ourselves meeting the divine. May we be open to that meeting.

In peace and love,

Stephen

 

 

 

Theme Resources

Books (non-fiction):

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and and Ted Orland. Short book honestly exploring the creative process and the fear that stops us from creating art. The ideas in this book can be applied to many different tasks in life.

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master edited by Daniel Ladinsky. Translated in an accessible and modern style this is a large collection of ecstatic love songs to God.

Films:

Life is Beautiful/ La vita è bella. Award winning Italian comedy drama about a father shielding his son from the horrors of a concentration camp. Rated PG.

American Beauty. Drama about a suburban American family where, spurred by forbidden passions, the father begins to dramatically change his life. Rated 18 with strong adult themes.

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