Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: welcome

Welcome & Call to Worship at the Ordination of Rev. Diana Hultgren

Good evening and welcome! I am Rev. Brian Chenowith, the minister here at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington. It is my distinct honor and privilege to welcome all of you as the settled minister of this congregation to this occasion.

To my colleagues, welcome. To this congregation, welcome. To visitors, friends, and family, welcome. To the spirit of all that holds us, welcome. This is a momentous day. It is momentous for so many reasons — they cannot all be enumerated.

But chief amongst these reasons are the gathering of this community to engage in holy work, and also the mystery and wonder of affirming one persons call to the limitless and the uttermost — and ordaining her to the sacred office of Minister.

Today, in this moment, in this good and right space, we ordain and affirm our community minister, Diana Hultgren, to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. Read the rest of this entry »

A Promising Fire

One of the first books I ever bought on religion as a child was not a Bible, not a picture book, it was this book. The Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps the colorful cover lured me in, perhaps there was a calling to its poetry and words that I did not know yet — sometimes life tells us who we are before we even know it fully.

This book did not sit and collect dust, it was not forgotten, it was a serious investment. I read it cover to cover. Then I read it cover to cover again, jotting down passages and putting brackets around phrases to go back to. I poured over this epic story, which was quite challenging for me to read at the time, and was enchanted by its words.

From that point on I was hooked on Hinduism. The imagery, the stories, the music, the language, the many gods and goddesses, and the celebrations — I couldn’t get enough. I suspect I drove my Hindu friends at school nuts then. I was this little scrawny red head asking constantly about their culture and religion. But that enchantment continues to this day. Read the rest of this entry »

Some New Kind of Adventure

Our reading today is title, “Things to Watch While You Drive” by Joyce Sutphen, the Poet Laureate of Minnesota

The trees, slipping
across the fields, changing places with
barns and silos,
the hills, rolling over
on command, their bellies
green and leafy,
the sun-tiger, riding
on your rooftop, its shadow racing
up and down the ditches,
a flock of birds,
carrying the sky by the corners,
a giant sheet of blue,
the road, always
twisting towards or away from you —
both, at the same time.

 I found myself wondering how many times I had packed up the car over the last two years — how many times I said goodbye, how many times I said “No, I’m not dragging that old thing with me” and instead donated it to Goodwill. This time, I found myself confronted with two packed cars.

Two cars heading into the unknown, two cars with a different part of the country waiting at the end of the road, two cars that surely forgot to pack that one thing we absolutely should’ve had the sense to remember. My partner and I were ready to say goodbye to the home we had known in Illinois for most of our lives. For me, the farewells were less impactful and tearful, my mother still held back her emotions, the other relatives did as well.

I would be lying if I believed that it was truly less impactful. Any goodbye is hard to grapple with — whether it is final or temporary. This goodbye, only four days ago, had a level of finality to it. We were leaving and, yes we would visit, but we would not be down the road or in the next room. The distance was going to last. Read the rest of this entry »