SGM #34: Living Commitment

#34 Small Group Ministry Session Written by Rev. Jude Geiger, MRE, First Unitarian, Brooklyn – Based on the sermon, “Living Commitment” preached by Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons at First UU on 2/3/13. This session explores the meaning of love in light of the everyday. The sermon it’s based upon is found here: http://www.fuub.org/home/clergy/sermons/?sermon_id=99

Welcome & Opening Chalice Lighting  (Please read aloud) #627 in Singing the Living Tradition by Max A. Coots (read responsively if you have multiple copies.)

Statement of Purpose:  To nurture our spirits and deepen our friendships.

Brief Check-In: Share your name and something you have left behind to be here.

Covenant Reflection

Reading: An excerpt from Rev. Ana’s sermon.

“In an arranged marriage, love is not the soil in which the marriage grows. At best, it’s the other way around: the marriage is the soil in which love grows. This is the theory – that in sharing a life, you grow to love each other. To test this theory you really have to be a couple in an arranged marriage who have been together a long time. This is the test run by Tevya and Golde in the song we heard earlier – “Do You Love Me?” – from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. They are a couple living in a 1905 Russian shtetl in an arranged marriage of 25 years and the husband, Tevya, wants to know whether the rich soil of this marriage has borne fruit in the form of love.

So he asks his wife whether she loves him. To her, the question doesn’t even compute. Love isn’t the point of marriage in their world. The point is sustenance, survival, getting things done, raising kids, making use of the economy of scale in warding off poverty. But Tevya really wants to know and he keeps nudging her about it and finally Golde concedes that for 25 years she’s washed his clothes, cooked his meals, cleaned his house, given him children, milked the cow; they’ve gone through 25 years of experiences together, good and bad, and that all of that somehow does add up to love. She asks, “‘If that’s not love, what is?'”

Discussion Questions: How do you know when you’re in love? Do our actions define or indicate love? Which comes first, “commitment” or “love?” Outside of a romantic relationship, share a story about a time when obligations brought about a deeper emotional connection to that which you were obligated.

Closing:   (please read aloud ) #697 by Wendell Berryin Singing the Living Tradition

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