Our monthly worship theme for October is DEATH. My first sermon with you was on Suffering and my first monthly theme with you is Death! Truly, I am not the Minister of Negative Energy! October is the time of a major seasonal change, from the richness and bounty of Summer to the coolness of Fall. Much of the vegetation will die and many animals and other creatures will change their habits, becoming slower as they prepare for Winter, or leaving the area. In many cultures of the past and present around the world, October is the time to reflect on those beloved people and other creatures who have departed from us, reflecting this changing time of year.
As well, we can also think of the metaphorical ‘deaths’ that occur in our lives as we go through changes. These might be aspects of our lives that we choose to end, such as habits, practices, and ways of thinking and being that no longer serve what is best and highest for us. These might be occurrences that we do not choose, that come to us from other people or the world around us. We can experience these sorts of ‘deaths’ as incredibly positive in our lives, as well as sometimes giving us a sense of grief and loss. October is a good time of year to pay attention to Death in our lives, death that happens in so many ways, for what spiritual lessons and awakenings and reflection are possible.
Sunday, October 9, we will observe Coming Out Day (October 11), a day when people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual or as allies are encouraged to be public and open, to come out, about their identity in any way they choose. We will hear from three speakers who will share their experiences of coming out. We will also hear some wonderful music from our guest speakers, as well as from Donna Zabolsky, our musical director.
On October 16, Barbara May will lead a service on the Pagan holy day of Samhain (pronounced SOW-wen). Samhain is a time to reflect on our harvest for the year – what we have planted and gathered in our own lives.
On October 23, I will speak on what it is like to die – sharing recent new knowledge about what happens to humans at the point of death. What might this new knowledge mean to us as humans and Unitarian Universalists?
On October 30, we will explore and learn together about the Day of the Dead/El Dia de los Muertos. The Day of the Dead is a sacred celebration from the Mexican culture, influenced by ancient Aztec beliefs as well as Roman Catholic Christianity. We will learn of this holy day and together we will build an altar to our beloved dead. Spiritually, there is much for us to learn from the Day of the Dead that is positive and beneficial. Please bring a photo and/or other memento of your beloved dead (whether human or another creature) for the altar.