Living a Religious Life

Tiffany mosaic "Angel of Light" graces the west wall of the First U Sanctuary

From Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, Senior Minister – Living a Religious Life is an initiative designed to support us in living our mission as a congregation and growing into the best versions of ourselves as individuals. It is grounded in the counter-intuitive concept that structuring our lives by religious practices can actually give us greater freedom and more joy in the long run. In my September 15th sermon, “Living a Religious Life,” I laid out seven metaphorical “sandboxes” – seven areas in which religious communities have traditionally developed communal practices. My invitation to you, for this year, is to try adopting or refining one practice of your own in each sandbox. Even though no two sets of practices at First U may be exactly the same, sharing a journey of practice will help us build a stronger, more loving community.

To support you in getting started, we are offering a series of seven workshops, one for each area. At each workshop, we’ll talk through some examples of traditional practices in that area and I will share what I do as one possible option for a progressive New Yorker in 2019. We will spend most of our talk talking about your ideas for what you might like to try. You’ll have a chance to think out loud about what might be good about them, what might be hard about them, and, most importantly, what’s realistic and attainable.

This process of discernment will culminate on our Hunger Communion on November 24. This is our annual fast day and whether you fast or not, I invite you to set aside that day as a day of contemplation – setting your intention for the practices you want to try for the rest of this year. You can come out of this with a set of seven practices that are yours. I’ll be available that day, along with Meagan Henry (our Director of Education and Family Ministry) and Ethan Loewi (our Intern Minister) to help.

For more about this concept and a description of each sandbox, read the sermon, “Living a Religious Life.”

 Living a Religious Life Workshops:

 1. Spiritual Practice – September 22 (with Rev. Ana)

2. Good Deeds – September 29 (with Meagan Henry)

3. Sabbath and Holidays – Oct. 6 (with Rev. Ana)

4. Daily Bread – Oct. 13 (with Rev. Ana)

5. Reverent Speech – Oct. 20 (with Rev. Ana)

6. Conscious Sexuality – Oct. 27 (with Meagan Henry)

7. Charitable Giving – Nov. 10 (with Rev. Ana)