Minister’s Message – Common Postures of Reverence

We begin a month of worship and education on the theme of reverence as our country is divided by differing postures and practices of reverence.  Some insist that the only posture of reverence for our nation’s flag (and our nation itself) is standing at attention, saluting or hand on heart.  Others, and I count myself among them, insist that our flag and our country are only worthy of any type of reverence if they stand for right to freedom of expression and the right to protest grievances.  Therefore kneeling is not only a posture of reverence but a requirement when injustice demands it.  The nonviolent protest of kneeling during the national song began because the lives of people of color are still less revered and sacred than the lives of white people. So much so that people in authority can still kill them without fear or punishment or repercussion. The Kneeling isn’t about the flag, it’s about the need for Black Lives to Matter.

Our Unitarian Universalist faith was born in resistance to those demanding certain postures and practices of reverence.  Our Unitarian and our Universalist ancestors were called heretics because they insisted on not being compelled to revere ideas and practices with which they profoundly disagreed.  The term heretic comes from a Greek word meaning to choose. A heretic is one who doesn’t give up the right to choose what to think, what to believe, what to revere, and how to express that reverence.

Reverence is a common human behavior. It is has been around as long as an upright ape looked up in wonder at the stars or beheld the beauty, majesty, and force of a thunderstorm. As common as it is, it is also still a source of deep and difficult conflict.  May our month of exploring the meaning, practice and postures of reverence inspire us to spiritual growth and may that growth give us a firmer grounding from which to engage disagreements about what is worthy of reverence and how that reverence is expressed.


Rev. Tony