Tuesday, February 2, 2016

From the Bully Pulpit, January 2016

Stewards of Our Spiritual Garden

Translating the Hebrew text correctly in Genesis, God did not give man dominion over the earth. The term dominion is based on a Latin word, dominio, meaning domination, i.e. dominating nature, bending it to man’s will, the way the Roman Empire dominated the nations and peoples of the world.

To the contrary, the Biblical Hebrew word for God’s charge in the Garden of Eden was originally “Ra-cha,” which signifies stewardship, not dominion. Stewardship of the garden, God’s bounteous gift to humankind, affirms the need to care for and nurture the greenery of the earth and all living things. Racha means to preserve that which one is given, to use it carefully, and intelligently, so that this precious gift continues to provide bounteous sustenance over generations. What a difference a word can make!

Let us consider our own spiritual garden, the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches. Are we willing to cultivate our garden -- to nurture it, to sustain it, so that it continues providing current and future generations with a beautiful and safe spiritual home? My father used to tell the story he called “Acres of Diamonds,” based on a speech made by the president of Temple University in Philadelphia, the year dad graduated. The moral of this tale is to remember that our own back yard can produce the wealth and comfort we need (i.e. “acres of diamonds”) as long as we do not allow it to wither away by neglect, disinterest, or the failure to invest our collective efforts in preserving it. We should not envy our neighbors garden, but respect and cherish our own. If we act as stewards, our blessings can multiply from the contributions we freely provide. What a difference commitment can make!

On Sunday, February 21, you will be asked to act as a responsible steward of our spiritual garden, our church. You will have an opportunity to give generously to preserve what we love and care about, 1st UUPB. On that day, be a congregant who demonstrates the meaning and importance of RACHA. What a difference you can make!

Andrew Kahn, president, 1stUUPB Board of Trustees

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