Liberation is a word we may hear often, but may or may not think much about. Women’s Liberation, political liberation, even Liberation Theology may come to mind, but may seem distant issues and not part of our own personal lives. This month, we ask ourselves “What does it mean to be a people of liberation?” How does being Unitarian Universalist or a part of the Tree of Life community challenge and inspire us to liberation? (Our own or other’s.)
In order to know the answer, I think each of us has to take time to look at our life. Have we allowed ourselves to become creatures of habit, living by rote instead of by intention? Have we begun to worry so much about what others will think that we make choices based on fear instead of our real desires and self-knowledge? Have we gotten stuck in unhealthy patterns, even addictions? Do our lives reflect our actual values and passions, or something else, dictated from outside?
We also have to look at the ways we might be a force for liberation beyond ourselves, which can sometimes be tough. What are the things that keep us silent when we could speak out for another’s liberation? Are we more afraid of what will happen if we do speak out than what will happen if we don’t? Has cynicism gripped us so tightly that we don’t even believe we can make a difference? Are we afraid to make a mistake? Do we worry that if we rock the boat we will end up alone?
One thing I know for certain about liberation is that it is far easier to create together than alone. Liberating one’s self, without companions along for courage, strength, and accountability is almost impossible. And liberating our world from greed, prejudice, and hatred is going to take us all–a whole movement of people dedicated to collective liberation. We say it often: No one is free until all are free. What does it mean to live it?
I invite you to talk to me, any member of the board, or each other about what you’d like to see Tree of Life do as a first step to being a people of liberation. Supportive small group ministry? Putting up a “Black Lives Matter” sign? Work to alleviate poverty and homelessness in McHenry county? Let’s get liberating!