Leader Letter

Subscribing congregations should share this letter with congregational leaders.  Being oriented to the month’s theme, and equipped to help others in the congregation get aligned with it, builds the whole congregation’s engagement with the theme.  Which, of course, means unity and energy for the community.



Dear Friends,

In his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson says:

“Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result -- eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly -- in you.”

When we hear the word “miracle,” we often think of a supernatural event, something that defies the laws of nature.  But, as Bryson and other humanists show, there is something in the facts of creation itself that is so wondrous, so improbable, as to be seen as miraculous.  In this light, a miracle is not something defying reality, but something defying convention, or defying our exhausted view of reality.  Is a miracle something ordinary which we have found a way to reconsider, as if for the first time?  That is to say, is a miracle less about the event than it is about our perception of it?  This may seem a retreat from consideration of events that defy explanation.  There are those in Unitarian Universalism who cherish the odd and inexplicable events in life—far from the evidence-based claims that Bryson touts in his quote.  So, it may be that, as we look at miracles, we find ourselves in a conversation with widely different views, among Unitarian Universalists.  Good!  We will celebrate different things.  We will understand them differently.  But what holds it all in common is that we will celebrate them.  Let’s be in conversation about miracles this month.  Let’s take that wide view that includes the ordinary and the supernatural.  And let’s celebrate not only the phenomena, but our ability to wonder at it all.



Rev. Jake Morrill
Lead Minister ORUUC
Executive Director UUCF
Launchpad Partner