Being Refuge, Finding Refuge


“We take refuge in all that is holy.  We take refuge in sacred teachings throughout the ages.  We take refuge in our community of faith and in the interdependent web of life.” 

This writing, called “The Three Jewels”, is by UU minister Jonipher Kwong.*  On 12:08 a.m. on December 2nd, 2013, Kwong and Chris Nelson, his partner of fifteen years, became the first couple to wed when gay marriage became legal in Hawaii.

Over 100 religious leaders of many faiths threw their support behind the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act, capping a long struggle there for gay marriage.  The ceremony took place in the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, where as a child Barack Obama attended Sunday school for a year when he lived with his grandparents.

Kwong and Nelson were embraced that day – by one another, and by their congregation, the broader community of faith, sacred teachings throughout history, the web of life itself.  His writing points us to to take refuge and to be refuge for one another, both in times of joy and in times of shadow.

img_5368Ours is a forward-looking faith-an expression of freedom, creativity, and struggle.  Beyond our striving or deserving, though – when we cannot see the way forward – even then, we are nested in a community of faith and in life itself.  Taking refuge in all that is holy, it is okay to rest.  Love and hope and history are like streams that find a way past obstacles to keep moving forward.

Know that grief, too, is holy.   There is room here for your strength, energy, and hope, but this is also a place for anger, for fear, for a heart lying fallow.  Give light and leadership if you have it.  If you cannot have hope, we will hope for you.  Take refuge if you need it, friend.  Stay close.  You are home, held and cherished, no matter what.

Consider:  It can be hard, waiting for the light to clear – for the time to see the way forward.  In what ways can such a time be an expression of faithfulness?  What or who is your refuge when hope falls away?  

  • From Voices From the Margins: An Anthology of Meditations, Jacqui James and Mark D. Morrison-Reed, eds. (Skinner Books: 2012).
  • Photo: UU World (12/9/2013).

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