One assignment our Summer Seminary (#UUSumSem) program students receive is writing a 3-5 minute homily based on a prompt. On Saturday night they presented their homilies to each other, and then voted to select the five they wanted to represent their class during worship on Sunday Morning at First Unitarian Church of Oakland, CA. Here Summer Seminarian Paloma Callo speaks to the lament with which many youth and young adults struggle, “How do we inherit this broken world with grace?” She calls for other generations to hold the hands of the younger generations as they work to shape and reshape the world that was given to them.
Watch now as Paloma Callo Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Summer Seminary 2016 Grad delivers her homily, “Whole, Healing and Broken”, during First Unitarian Church of Oakland, CA. Sunday Worship:
Learn about Summer Seminary, a program of the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult MinistriesRead the transcript of Paloma’s homily:
Paloma: We are a whole, healing, and broken people. We are a whole, healing, and broken face. We are a whole, healing, and broken world.
As youth and young adults, we are constantly reminded of the inevitable fact that this is our inheritance.
Our experience as young people at this pivotal time in the world does not pass peacefully or easily. One of the hardest questions we find ourselves asking time and time again as we do our work of faith and action is, where is my place? What can I do to help heal the pain I see? How do I inherit this broken world with grace?
Because the truth is that we have been bequeathed a devastated a world. How do I inherit this broken world with grace? There is so much resistance, so much pain to bear witness to. But we are tired and we are ready for change.
The effects of this resistance and avoidance of bearing witness can be seen clearly in our own congregations. Soul is being drained. Oppressed identities are still living unseen. Stories are going untold. And pain is being met with a solution, rather than an empathetic listening ear.
What I feel and what I see is a lack of sanctuary. A disregard for the importance to feel. And so what we are trying to do as we inherit this broken world is to rebuild a sanctuary. A place where there is a space to sit in discomfort, to accept your pain, to acknowledge mistakes made and humanity and the lives lost because of them. Because only when we come to bear witness to the cracks and shattered pieces can we begin to help heal what has been broken.
And so we ask the world and generations before us to hold us. To hold our hands as we witness, shape and reshape the world that was passed on to us. But not to hold us back or pull us away.
I feel deeply that our faith is calling us for flexibility and grace as we tread these changing tides. Our principles call on us to hold the door open and hold the hands of those who wish to enter. And that includes those who are already in our faith. The youth with big dreams and ideas. The queer and trans folk who are building a spiritual home where their identity is affirmed. The people of color who are seeking to be seen whole and unapologetic. The godly hands of new leaders of this faith empowering people to meet their pain with grace.
We are a whole, healing, and broken people. Our duty is to lift up voices and listen deeply to stories, both joyful and painful.
We are a whole, healing, and broken faith. Our call is to celebrate, empower, and affirm the sacred.
And we are a whole, healing, and broken world. So let us bear witness to this difficult truth.