To Be Continued: Beloved Community

Dear Ones,

It’s February! We are well into the new year now, and it’s still a little astonishing to me. This month has always seemed very long to me. Other than Groundhog Day (which is not much of a holiday) and Valentine’s Day, there aren’t usually many events.

Our Soul Matters theme for the month is Beloved Community – as in What does it mean to be a people of Beloved Community?

I’ve been thinking about this idea of Beloved Community. We say it every week in the Welcome to our worship service: “Guided by love, with open minds and hearts, we work together to create the Beloved Community of justice, compassion, and peace.” Y’all may remember this, but it’s good to remind ourselves that the Beloved Community is meant to apply to the broader society – not just our UU Fellowship.

The term originates with late 19th Century philosopher Josiah Royce, who was concerned with what he called the “heroic individualism” expressed in the works of Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Simplistically, for Royce, the community was a little more important than the individual. Individuals are formed by the communities in which they live. In Royce’s work, the Beloved Community is one where people are devoted to truth and loyalty.

This concept was picked up by theologian Howard Thurman – and by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King used the term often, and The King Center states that “Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”

That’s the Beloved Community I want to live in, one where every individual is valued, where there is no poverty, no hunger, no homelessness, no bigotry. I’m grateful to be with this community, working toward the creation of The Beloved Community.

Thank you for being here & staying connected. I love you. Be well, and stay safe!

Rev. Lori Hlaban