I love autumn – the crispness in the air, the way some of the trees seem to be literally ablaze with colour, and not to mention the comfort food! I love making soups and stews and settling in to enjoy them as the darkness begins to move into the early evening hours – particularly when the wind is blowing strong. I feel safe and held in the warmth of my home as the winds and rain howl outside!
During those times, I tell myself it’s the wind’s job to blow all the leaves from the trees. I tend to look to nature for my spiritual lessons and October reminds me to let the winds of change blow in my life and to clear away the old, unnecessary things or habits so that my mind, body, and spirit can prepare for the winter months. There are several tools and rituals that I engage with to help me do this.
Our covenant with each other is one of the tools that I use. I use it to look at my behaviour to reflect on how it is that I have been with the people that I love and care for in my life, as well as the people who are on the periphery of my life – for example the people I see every day when I go to the gym or in the grocery store. We started our water communion ceremony on September 11 th with a reading of our covenant as a reminder to hold it in our hearts as we engage with each other this year.
It is covenant that binds us together and strengthens our relationships as Unitarian Universalists. They are what holds us together when times are difficult, reminding us always that, in times of joy and sorrow, we are tough, resilient, and thoughtful. When we make the choice to hold our connections with each other above all else, we become better people. As we make our way painfully slowly out of the pandemic that has had a grip on us all for years, you’re going to hear a lot about covenant. Not because we are bad people, but because we are human. We are human, we forget, we make mistakes, we break our vows with ourselves and each other.
The Rumi poem that was set to music and appears in our hymnal as hymn no. 188, Come, Come, Whoever You Are invites each one of us to come, whether we are wanderers, worshipers, or lovers of leaving. What the song failed to capture in the original Rumi poem was the descant line – though you’ve broken your vows a thousand times. Usually those with lower voices sing this line while the rest of the congregation sings the hymn. When sung in this way, it reminds us to
come, yet again come even though we’ve broken our vows a thousand times.