At least when I write about a topic, I try to follow my own advice. So this past Sunday I went to a service at my local Unitarian Church, a group which I believe does not support any particular dogma, but that emphasizes community, good works and encouraging the spiritual self.
My purpose was to explore whether I wanted to become more involved in the Church, both for myself and my two teen-age daughters. In childhood, I was a devout Catholic. I had doubts in high school and stopped practicing in college. I married a man who was raised Jewish.
I have brought up my children outside the realm of organized religion. I’ve taught a strong moral code, celebrated both Christian and Jewish holidays and given them smatterings of Buddhism, among other philosophies and religions that I’ve picked up along the way.
But I feel they need more — a spiritual community outside the home, a direction for good works, a defined set of rituals, a place to pray and sing and believe.
And so I’m looking.
The nice part of going to try out a religious group is that you are welcome. (If you aren’t, this is not the place to join.) There are no tickets to buy or permissions to get. You walk in, sit down, and you’re part of the group.
The Unitarian Church I went to is completely glass-enclosed. The perfect autumn Sunday was a spectacular backdrop to a contemplation of God. The music alternately made me cry and, when the gospel singing was going on, wave my arms.
There were a lot of examples of doing good works. People who were having troubles shared their problems and lit candles. An adorable baby was welcomed into the world and sent on her way with cheers. Teen-agers stood up and said their wishes. A woman preached about how we are mirrors, reflecting the world in our eyes.
Will I go back again? Will my teen-agers come with me? I don’t know. Did I feel a little bit stronger, more connected, when I left? Absolutely.