WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Keeping Our Connections Strong

By Sean Parker Dennison

All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other…
And we'll rise up, rise like the waves
We'll rise up in spite of the ache
We'll rise up… and we'll do it a thousand times again.
—Andra Day, "Rise Up"

With a street and sidewalk blurred in the background, a red heart sticker is stuck to a streetpost. It says, "Make America Love Again."

I feel like I'm on a constant hunt for hope these days. I have to be: every time I look at my phone or open my laptop, I’m overwhelmed by stories of violence, disrespect for life, greed, and selfishness. When I listen to my friends and loved ones or to conversations in coffee shops, it feels like everyone is dispirited and disheartened. And that is dangerous.

The danger of hopelessness is a double danger. First, hopelessness makes us feel it’s useless to take action. It fools us into believing there’s nothing we can do, or that our efforts won’t make a difference. Once we abandon hope, there’s no stopping the momentum of the unscrupulous who are willing to cooperate with evil in order to get ahead.

The other danger of hopelessness is that we can lose each other. In times of hopelessness, it’s easy to get scared of everything and everyone. It’s easy to start believing that your neighbor is the problem and that hoarding is a better strategy than generosity. The problem is that when community starts to break down, we lose the most important source of hope we have: each other.

The message of hope that still blazes bright for me in these hard times is that I am not alone. I don’t have to face the world alone and I don’t have to fix the world alone. When I need hope, I find it in on the faces of my people. I find it in their hearts, when we find each other again and stop hiding out, thinking we are the only one. I find it when we come together in community to sing, to bless one another, to mourn, to strategize. All we need is hope... and for that, we have each other.

Spirit of Life and Love, in these times when so much seems difficult, help us remember that we are not alone. We have each other. Help keep our connections strong and remind us that kindness, generosity and trust are antidotes to fear. Help us remember that our hope and our power grow when we are faithful to our deepest commitments and to each other. May we rise up to do the work of Love again and again. Amen.

About the Author

Sean Parker Dennison

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison is the minister at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland, Oregon. Ordained in 2000, Rev. Dennison has served congregations in California, Utah, and Illinois and cofounded TRUUsT, an organization for transgender UU religious leaders, in 2004. They are...


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