Minister’s Message for June 2023

Dear Ones,

Our liturgical theme for June is Delight. When I asked the participants of the Wednesday night minister’s class to help me understand the difference between delight and joy, some said that delight has an unexpected quality to it. I rather like that response. And, I find that it rings true to my experience. I find that I use the word delight when I am immensely pleased about something happening in the moment, and quite often something unexpected, as well. What does delight mean for you?

The Soul Matters small group packet begins with a prompt to list the things in life which have given you delight. The prompt begins like this: 

Because the road
Turns long and lonely sometimes, 
I built this box of delight. 
I picked up the lid
And into it I put. . .   


I encourage you to take a moment this month and contemplate what it is that has delighted you over the years. And then, I encourage you to say a little something about how grateful you are to have had such moments. Here are but a few of the moments of delight that have placed in my box:

  • Getting an unexpected phone call from my best friend
  • Having my daughter with me for Mother’s Day 2023
  • When my housemate’s dog jumps into my lap
  • Enjoying the participation of small children in Flower Communion
  • Seeing your smile when you see me

Those are just a few moments of delight contained in my box. 
I wonder what you’ll put in yours. . . please send me an email at minister@uucj.org and make my day! 

As I have preached from the pulpit, Jesus’s message had nothing to do with worshiping him and everything to do with empowering us to co-create the Kingdom of God, now referred to as the Beloved Community. All those parables were trying to teach us how to live our best lives in this material world. It was James, the brother of Jesus, who asked: 

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Surely that faith cannot save, can it? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. . . For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (NRSV James 2:14-19, 26) 

So, what then is our work with regard to delight? In the January 2023 post of his blog The Red Hand Files, Nick Cave encourages us to think in terms of balancing all the evil and grief in the world with delight. He wrote:  

If we do not attend to the work of projecting delight upon the world, what are we actually doing?  Are we saying that malevolence is the routine stuff of life, that oppression and corruption and degradation is the very matter of the world? That we greet each day with suspicion, bitterness and contempt? It seems to me that to make suffering the focus of our attention, to pay witness only to the malevolence of the world, is to be in service to the devil himself.

I think Nick has a point. Our work is not to ignore what is going on in the world, but rather to acknowledge it, and then to do everything we can to balance it with that which is good in the world–and delightful.    

It has been my joy, my honor, and my delight to serve UUCJ these last two years. As I said at the beginning of my ministry here, “we don’t have to be perfect to be perfect for each other.” We have been a good team working together to create the beloved community after the post pandemic challenges that faced the church. It is my fervent hope that you will grow and prosper. Jacksonville needs you.
 
Many, many, many blessings, 
Rev. Lee Anne 

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