In 1991, Marian Wright Edelman wrote an article reflecting on her past in which she recalled listening to Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches in the chapel of her college as a young adult. Of him, she said:
One of the things I liked about him was that he didn’t pretend to be a great powerful know-it-all. I remember him discussing openly his gloom, depression, his fears, admitting that he didn’t know what the next step was. He would then say: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
That lesson – that she didn’t have to wait for great confidence or certainty about an entire plan before acting – stayed with Marian as she went on to become a civil rights activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.
Our Soul Matters theme for the month of March is “Renewing Faith.” It comes at a time when we are being asked to take first steps in many areas of our lives without seeing the full staircase:
– We are taking first steps toward regathering for face-to-face/multi-platform worship, even though we don’t yet know for sure what that will be like or what the next stage of the pandemic will bring.
– We are taking first steps in our annual Tree of Life pledge drive, not knowing who will renew and increase their pledge or exactly what needs our congregation will face in the coming months and years.
– We are taking first steps as a nation responding to attacks on the Ukrainian people, despite our uncertainty about whether sanctions and other such strategies will make a difference.
One of the things I love most about Unitarian Universalism is our ability to accept uncertainty. We don’t demand easy answers or absolute dogma stating universal truths. And because of this openness to uncertainty, we are a people of deep faith. I invite you to join me this month in exploring how we can continue taking steps forward in that faith.
Rev. Jennifer Gracen
Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation