HEADS-UP NORTH CENTRAL SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA ~ Celebrating “Beloved Community” for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1928)

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1928)

In the Spirit of “Beloved Community”

by

Rev. Ben Meyers

Consistent with long tradition (this is our 28th year), the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) will host a celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream. We do so in concert with our neighbors in North Central San Mateo and invite you to visit us on Saturday, January 14 from 3 pm – 5pm after the annual essay, poetry and art contest awards at the King Community Center, 330 W. 20th Avenue. We are located at 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo, CA 650 342-5946 Join us for a buffet, music and activities for all ages. Together the community of North Central San Mateo will play his dream forward.

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s dream, shared with the world in one of its most widely known and revered speeches, gives meaning to our celebrations and our efforts to honor Dr. King and keep his memory and ideals alive. The human community still struggles for equity and respect for everyone. We still struggle for peace in the rough and crooked places. We still struggle to heal and to make his dream – one that so many of us share – a reality.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was a Baptist minister and social activist whose role was pivotal in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s through his death in 1968. Through nonviolent civil disobedience, Dr. King promoted equity for African-Americans and for all who were marginalized and victimized.

The photograph of Dr. King is in the public domain.

Do Not Stand by My Grave and Weep

Hanoke Japanese Gardens, Saratoga, California

Hanoke Japanese Gardens, Saratoga, California

Do not stand by my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond’s glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripening grain.
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004), Poem 1932

That lovely poem (often wrongly attributed to Native American origin and tradition) reads like a prayer or a hymn. This is not surprising since true prayer and true poetry both come from Sacred Space. It was recited this past Saturday as we celebrated  the inspiring life of a dear friend who left his body shortly before his seventieth birthday and his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. He was a nature lover and we approprately celebrated his life out-of-doors at the Hanoke Japanese Gardens. Our friend died of chronic leukemia.

Throughout the fifteen years our friend lived with dying, there was nary a complaint. Even in dying he was true to his core value, thinking of – loving – others. Among his last sentiments was the hope – the encouragement – that the lessons we’d take from his life were to live with equanimity and to live hugely, kindly and consciously.

Also read at his Celebration of Life were St. Francis’ Prayer and The Buddhist Metta (Loving Kindness) Sutra (guidance), which was written in  similiar spirit as St. Francis’ Prayer.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

– St. Francis of Assisi

 

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Like many of us today, our friend combined the wisdom of several traditions to create a spiritual life that worked well for him. Raised a Catholic he took seriously the injunctions in St. Francis’ Prayer. He also valued the similar life philosophies of oneness, stewardship, non-attachment and respect for silence found in Buddhist scripture and practice and in Native American spirituality. His daily practice was Buddhist for Buddhism is indeed the master of meditative technology.

In memory of B.K.S. xo

May all sentient beings find peace.


If you are viewing this in an email, you will have to link through to the site to enjoy this beautiful and peaceful video with a Metta chant put to music. It’s sung in Pali but offers English subtitles.