Sunday, February 3, 2019

Yin and Yang and Astrophysics

Below is the chalice lighting I wrote for a February Sunday service. It is about my church but it applies to us all.

When Cory Booker announced his run for the presidency a few days ago, I saw a quote from him that made me think of First Parish: “Hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word.”

It’s been quite a few months here at First Parish. We’ve enjoyed and celebrated our success with the building project as well we should. It was a huge accomplishment. But we’ve also had to carry the loss of several beloved church members during this time.

Our individual joys have been many these past months with anniversaries, new babies, and weddings. Interspersed with those happy times have been our own personal difficulties - deaths of loved ones, illness, heartbreak. 

The universe would not exist without balance. The Chinese inherently understood this when they created the concept of Yin and Yang in the 3rd century BCE. They didn’t need astrophysics to figure that out. 

The science behind cosmic and natural balance isn’t just for textbooks. We live it every day. We couldn’t walk without balance (well, that and gravity). We couldn’t manage our finances without a balance between wants and needs. We would never be able to make an important decision without weighing pros and cons. 

Isaac Newton’s third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In more human terms: for every birth there is a death; for every joy there is a sorrow.

At First Parish we live out what Booker calls an “active conviction” - for the Yins and the Yangs and everything else in between. You actively provide that sense of balance when one of us feels like the earth is shifting beneath our feet. You actively provide love and hope when someone is feeling unloved and hopeless. 

We can never forget that providing a safe place when someone’s world is unsafe and unbalanced, though difficult and upsetting and heartbreaking for all of us, is the greatest gift we can give. 

It is the most important reason for our being here at First Parish and on this earth. I light the chalice today for the active hope we offer in the face of despair.