“The evolution of the cosmos invokes in me a sense of mystery…” Ursula Goodenough
What does it mean to be a people of evolution? Being part of the Epic of Evolution, the emergent, unfolding story of the universe, is both a fact and a source of meaning. The study of evolution reminds us we are a small but significant part of a very old and very grand planet. Our planet is one small aspect of an astonishing universe. Awe and wonder feel like appropriate responses to this story.
As ‘geologian’ Thomas Berry noted, we are part of a grand communion of beings. Humans are part of the wondrous creation of life on earth; we in the West are once more becoming aware of our connections to, and deep dependence on, other creatures and the planet. Understanding ourselves as part of the evolutionary cycle can be a source of wonder; it can also be a motivation for social action. To know we are all part of this whole means that we have a responsibility to work for a way of life which sustains all life, not just humankind.
We can also look at evolution from a more personal perspective – what does it take to grow and evolve into our most authentic self? As the Rev. Scott Taylor points out, by asking us to seek and live out a life of evolution, Unitarian Universalism directly challenges other religious frameworks that would reduce the human journey to achieving a life of purity or a life of perfection. There’s something powerfully freeing and inspiring about being told that the goal of life is not to “get it right,” but to grow. Where are you on your own journey of evolution?
Whether you are awe-inspired by the epic of evolution or are seeking to evolve in spirit, may you find insight in this month’s theme.
This month Michael Franti reminds us not to give up on the world.