I’m a few days late for Diwali, but have a happy one anyway. Celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and the Buddhists of Nepal, the holiday celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair. I’m for that! As the Rev. Dr. Gretchen Woods says, with a twinkle in her eye, we Unitarian Universalists celebrate the feasts of all and the fasts of none.
My wife and I spent this weekend in New York City, where I lived for 20 years, and while there we attended services this morning at Community Church of New York, the church that introduced me to UUism in the mid 1980s. Because we UUs seek out what all the world’s religions offer us, today’s Community Church service focused on Diwali.
But it’s something that Community Church has done at every Sunday service since 1929 that I’d like to share with you in this post. It’s a unison affirmation adapted from the writings of 19th-Century Hindu Universalist Keshab Chandra Sen:
Unto the Church Universal,
Which is the depository of all ancient wisdom,
And the school of all modern thought;
Which recognizes in all prophets a harmony,
In all scriptures a unity,
And through all dispensations a continuity;
Which abjures all that separates and divides
And always magnifies humanity and peace;
Which seeks truth in freedom, justice in love,
And individual discipline in social duty;
And which shall make of all persons, sects, classes, nations, and races,
One Beloved Community;
Unto this church and unto all its members,
Known and unknown throughout the world,
We pledge the allegiance of our hands and hearts.
Amen. Om. Aum.