“It’s a picture of God,” she said.
The teacher said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
The little girl answered, "They will when I've finished."
Sometimes we take things pretty literally – and yet in a way that might open up a new perspective. Like this other little girl that was sad because her cat had died. She was crying, and her neighbor said, “Don’t cry. Your kittie is with Jesus.”
And she did stop crying because she was turning this over in her mind. Then she said, “What would Jesus want with a dead cat?”
Whatever you may believe about where kitties go, or where humans go, what matters for us is the peace, joy, and love we find here, together.
Ours is a tradition that has Jewish and Christian roots. There were Unitarians and Universalists over 200 years ago in this ago country, and they were all Christians then. But we were Christians with critical thinking, and, though we followed Jesus, we weren’t sure we believed everything in the Bible. I’ve heard there was a Unitarian Bible study class, and the newsletter notice said, “Bring your Bible and a pair of scissors.”
The Unitarian Thomas Jefferson did just that. He clipped out only those parts of the new testament that he especially wanted to have available to study and he created “The Jefferson Bible.”
So it’s not that we aren’t interested in Bible scholarship. In fact, some of us, like Thomas Jefferson, bring scissors, but others get into the theology. For intance, there was the UU who, legend has it, was present at one of Jesus' public addresses.
“Who do you say that I am?” asked Jesus.
The UU piped up and answered: “You are the kerygma behind all myths. You are the incarnate logos. You are of one substance and coeternal with the Father, or the Mother, as the case may be. You are the eruption of eternity into the space-time continuum."
And Jesus looked at the UU and said, “What the heck is that?”
When Eastern religious writings began to be available for the first time in English – in the mid-19th century, both the Unitarians and the Universalists were very interested, and they studied those, too. Yes we do have a friend in Jesus, but not just in Jesus. We don’t stop there. We find wisdom that guides our life also in Socrates, Buddha and Confucius, Moses and Esther.
What a friend we have in Jesus, what a friend in Socrates.
What a friend we have in Buddha, to the kingdom we have keys.
We believe in many saviors, we believe in many seers.
Souls whose universal gospel, speaks to us across the years.
What a friend we have in Moses, what a friend in Esther, too.
We have Lao-zi and Confucius, and a prophet lives in you.
When you're weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care,
Think of friends thruout the ages, ev'ry when and ev'rywhere.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged. U U saints are ev'rywhere.
Souls like President John Adams, souls like Olympia Brown.
Oh, what friends we have to guide us. Oh, what sages we have found.
What a friend in Charles Darwin, what a friend in Susan B.
What a friend in Clara Barton, they all helped to make us free.
What a friend in P .T. Barnum, what a friend in Jefferson.
We've four hundred years of friendship, and you bet there's more to come.
- Lyrics by Tony Larsen* * *
This is part 2 of 3 of "Yay For Our Team"
Next: Part 3: "Yay For Our Team"
Beginning: Part 1: "When the Spirit Says UU"