Love is an action verb. As striving human beings, we know this to be true in our personal relationships with partners, family, friends, fellow congregants. We want to acknowledge the needs of those close to us (and ourselves!) and work, build ways, to meet those needs. But as Unitarian Universalists, we understand that in accordance with our principles, this active love must extend further into the world around us.
Right now, across our nation, UU congregations are discussing the proposed 8th Principle: “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.” Living this principle would require love in action, not just stating our belief in racial justice, our acknowledgement of white privilege, our sincere desire to be inclusive. More than ever, we would need to find ways to make a difference. We would need to act.
From Martin Luther King. Jr. Day in January to Valentine’s Day in February, these “30 Days of Love” have been declared by UUA as “an opportunity to collectively nurture our spirits, deepen our understanding, and take action on our values for collective liberation.” This year the focus has been on Side With Love’s intersectional justice goals: 1) Reproductive, Gender, and LGBTQIA+ Justice, 2) Democracy and Voting Rights, 3) Discrimination and Racial Justice, and 4) Climate Justice. Each week, opportunities to learn and grow and to act are detailed at the 30 Days of Love 2022 website. “Side With Love Sunday” on February 13 will be the culmination of the month-long focus.
But it should not end the action mandate we all must embrace. In his syndicated blog, writer Rob Perez says this in examining his own practices: “Active love is hard. It requires courage, sacrifice, relentlessness. […] Active love is about outputs. Results. It’s the difference between hoping something good happens to many, and ensuring it happens, one person at a time.”
May we side with love, join others in our mutual goal, and build new ways to bring about positive change through active love.
Clela Reed, BOT Member-at-large