I have attended a Unitarian Universalist church for about six years now. Their focus is on community and spirituality, and not dogma. This proved to be the best spiritual home for an agnostic looking to bring community and spirituality to her child.
That said, I have a lot of anti-Christian baggage. Mind you, I have nothing against Christian beliefs. At the core, the teachings are very akin to how I think the world should work. However, traditional organized Christian institutions rub me like sand paper, particularly evangelical churches.
I have attended several Christmas and Easter-themed services at my church over the years. Our services have a tendency to deal with these holidays with a broad brush. This evening's Christmas Eve ceremony was no different. Tonight the them was what I'll refer to as 'ordinary miracles'. The point being that we are all called on to make today the first day of a new, better, world. We are all usually too caught up in our own lives to hear the angels calling to us. For many UU's these 'angels' are metaphorical.
The message boils down to this: "Experience the world. Look for opportunities to see love and miracles. Spread the word, literally or through your own actions, that love and understanding are ordinary miracles we can all experience and create."
When I came home, I read a story on Yahoo News about an ordinary miracle. A soldier adopted an Iraqi child with cerebral palsy. This one really pulls at your heart strings. Combine this story with the story of the war dog adopted by a fallen Marine's family and you can really begin to appreciate the love that ordinary people are capable of.
Do I have issues with our presence in Iraq? YUP. Do I think we need to change course? YUP. Do I think that a horrible situation has given ordinary people the opportunity to display extraordinary courage and love for their fellow man? YUP.
Every day, hundreds of horrible things happen in Iraq. We all need to continue to pressure our government to find a way out for us, and hopefully for the Iraqi people. However, I think we all need to soak up these stories of ordinary miracles to remind us of how good humans can be. I think we certainly get enough reminders on a daily basis of the negative side of humanity. If people in such horrific conditions can find the strength and where-with-all to perform compassionate acts, maybe there is hope for the human race after all.