This past Sunday we celebrated the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, both born on February 12, 2009. We were quite fortunate that they chose both to visit our congregation. They materialized when our children sang them each Happy Birthday. For the first part of the service they spoke to our children reaffirming, "it is a blessing you were born, it matters what you do, and you don't have to go it alone." During the second part of the service we asked Mr. Darwin and Mr. Lincoln questions, and the for the final part of the service, they asked us questions. I have included a snippet below that I address to them both at the end of their questions. The answers to all their questions can be found in "more information" (though not the answers to all our questions).
The earth is full, watching, waiting, and we are weeping. We look to the past as you did to look at slavery and humanity, Mr. Lincoln, and as you did Mr. Darwin with your birds and worms, so that we can face forward and be led into the mysterious unknown.
We also face inward to have empathy for tortoises and for those suffering, so that we gather a deep knowing of the world and see if we can make things a little better.
Our hope is to study life, to see all life, no matter how lowly, to know where we come from, who we were, who we are, so that we can be all of who we might become. We are not here to be at the top of a great chain of being, but in the midst of the web of life that holds us in this truth; “There is more to human than the breath in her body, or the hat on his head. It is the hope in our heart.” (adapted from Adam Gopnik in Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life)
May this week lead to the discovery of hope and faith in the evolving tree of life.