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Sundays Remembered – 5/19/2013

In the family I grew up in, if it was Sunday, we went to church. I don’t mean that we always went there with big smiles on our faces. Sometimes I didn’t want to go; sometimes my brothers didn’t want to go; sometimes my parents didn’t want to go. And I don’t mean that we were there bright and early, sticking around to shut the place down. That congregation had two services most Sundays, one and nine and one at eleven, and my parents could not imagine a life in which they would happily get up in time to be at church by nine – we were definitely 11 o’clock people. And there were some Sundays we didn’t look forward to as much as others, like Easter, when the sanctuary was always too crowded and the dress code seemed to jump up three levels for no good reason.

But if there was church school that Sunday, then we were going to church. So from the beginning of preschool to the end of high school, I logged a lot of hours. And I want to tell you three things I still have with me from

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all that time.

Growing up in a Unitarian Universalist Sunday School, I sang a lot of songs. I can’t say I can remember them all, but I can remember at least one that we used to sing a lot. It goes, “Love is

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something if you give it away, give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away: you end up having more.” With those words, and in so many other ways, my church taught me that love is what truly matters in life. Love is the best gift we can give one another, it is the most important thing we need from one another, and it is perhaps the only thing there is that has no limit – that we can’t run out of.

In those fourteen or so years, I also did a lot of arts and crafts projects with paints and glue and yarn and glitter. I can’t say I remember them all, but I can remember the house I got to make, just for me, out of an old refrigerator box. I used a lot of orange paint and made a draw bridge with a string I could pull up and down. With that project, and in so many other ways, my church taught me a lesson about where my home is: in my body, in my congregation, and in my world. All can be as imperfect as a sloppily painted cardboard box, but all are also precious and wonderful.

Over all those classes, I had a lot of teachers. I can’t say I remember them all, but I can remember people who listened when I had something to say. People who read me stories and poured me apple juice, did their best to help me find answers to my questions and worked hard to share the big hopes and dreams of Unitarian Universalism with me. Even when they were still learning about our faith themselves.

To the children and youth, and to their teachers: I cannot tell you today which memories of Sunday school you will still carry with you fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years from now. But I can tell you that you will remember something, and the things you will remember will be the things that truly matter. And that is why we come together as a community to learn, and that is why we come together as a community to teach.

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First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915

978-922-3968

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