I have to confess that I’ve found it a little difficult to write about Vision, the topic for this week’s small group ministry session based on resources from SpiritualityandPractice.com. It’s an odd situation for me since INFP (my Myers-Briggs type) is one of three types they label as “visionary” (has something to do with the NF—intuitive and feeling—indicators they say). So I asked my Facebook friends to give me a hand. Friend and colleague Tandi Rogers offered this question to get groups thinking about vision: “What story do you want the next generation to proclaim about what we did to tip the world more toward justice and love?.” And Cindy Beal, a fellow religious educator, suggested that “if we truly believe that the universe ‘bends toward justice,'” and if “we act in cooperation with power/energy/good, then we have the responsibility to be very intentional and thorough in terms of how we envision that future.” Both thoughts remind me of this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “This time like all times is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.” Vision can help us know what to do with our particular time in history. It puts us in the position of “making history in place of being merely pushed around by it,” as James Luther Adams put it.
This new millennium requires extending our present limited horizons of mind, heart and imagination, as well as expanding our social and religious boundaries. To live with new horizons means constantly stretching our hopes and hearts as far as possible — and then gradually and progressively taking them even beyond those limits.
— Edward Hays in The Great Escape Manual
An Excerpt from A Seat at the Table: Huston Smith in Conversation with Native Americans on Religious Freedom edited and with a preface by Phil Cousineau
Editor Phil Cousineau has put together 11 interviews of Native Americans in conversation with Huston Smith about religious expression in America. Here is an excerpt on vision.
Message From the Hopi Elders
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold onto the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.
Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do,
our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Banish the word struggle
from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done
in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Questions: Have you ever had a “vision?” Share the story. (A vision can be a mystical experience or revelation, or it can be a dream for personal or group fulfillment.)
Check-out/Likes and Wishes
The best success I can dream for my life: to have spread a new vision of the world.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin quoted in Spirit of Fire by Ursula King
To Practice This Thought: Watching small children, vow to make your vision of a better world a reality.
For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Vision.
For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.