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Wednesday Reflections


September 6, 2017
In the month of September here at Unity Temple, we are exploring what it means to be a Community of Welcome. Last week I intended to share with you about my trip to Washington D.C., but the ravages of Hurricane Harvey required immediate attention and begged for theological reflection. And now Hurricane Irma threatens similar devastation. May we keep all those hurting and struggling because of these storms in our prayers. There are many worthy ways of contributing to the equipping of people with food and necessities as well as rebuilding over the next several months and years. And this week I want to re-affirm that in our tradition, the holy is in the compassionate response—wherever we human beings struggle.
It seems like our entire nation is in the midst of a turbulent storm that keeps wreaking havoc. Yesterday President Trump announced that he will, with inaction from Congress, eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. This targeting of many talented, diverse, and successful immigrants is morally reprehensible. I’d suggest that our efforts of embodying a Community of Welcome are countercultural in the very best sense. The holy emerges in our compassionate response and the engagement of tough love to resist the demonization of some of the most vulnerable among us.
There’s another storm I’ve been attending to. Two months ago I agreed to attend the 1,000 Minister March in Washington D.C. as part of a delegation of colleagues primarily from Chicago’s westside. The march on Monday August 28 was on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The aim of the march was to mobilize faith leaders to speak out more clearly and directly about the immorality of white supremacy and to change the moral conversation within politics and our public life. 
The National Action Network, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, hoped to mobilize 1,000 religious leaders. Over 3,000 showed up, including 300 rabbis who organized the previous two weeks. I was honored to go and represent both you all here at Unity Temple and the Community of Congregations. For a longer reflection see my blog at
We gathered near the Martin Luther King Memorial and marched to the Department of Justice. Several speeches were given before and after Protestant, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim and Catholic leaders. The most cited reference to Dr. King was his declaration, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It really makes a difference how we engage one another. 
I was especially moved by Rabbi Jonah Posner who ended his powerful remarks saying “We know we have the power as people of faith to act together and transform our society. We know when we stand together, when we love one another as neighbors, then we can hold our leaders accountable to a higher moral vision that transcends any one political party and any one administration, and that we can redeem the soul of our nation.”
May we forge a community whose doctrine and foundation is love. May we embody a Community of Welcome. May we live up to the call to worship where it is always affirmed: "Whoever you are, wherever you are on your life journey, you are welcome here."
It is good to come together. See you in worship!
Rev. Alan Taylor